New Program Designed to Help Crewmembers Complete Their College Degrees
Utilizes Alternative Credit Options and Partnerships With JetBlue
Covering Most Costs
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) today announced JetBlue Scholars, an innovative
new program that offers crewmembers an opportunity to earn a fully
accredited college degree with JetBlue covering most of the cost. The
program takes an unconventional approach to employer-sponsored education
by providing alternative college credit options and going well beyond
standard tuition reimbursement. JetBlue Scholars addresses the needs of
those working full-time with college advisement and resources.
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JetBlue Scholars is Inspiring Education. JetBlue Scholars is an unconventional approach to employer-sponsored education by providing alternative college credit options, going well beyond standard tuition reimbursement.
Traditional paths to higher education can be overwhelming. Consistent
with its mission of inspiring humanity, JetBlue is bringing humanity
into the process by easing complexity for crewmembers. Through a
pioneering partnership model, JetBlue has unbundled the higher education
system, step-by-step, to make it easier for crewmembers who have some
previous college credit but do not know how to move forward to complete
their degree. JetBlue Scholars provides a clearer path and converts
aviation and military training and other professional certificates into
college credit, helping to reduce the time to complete a bachelor’s
degree for crewmembers.
More than 36 million Americans have some college credits but no degree
(a), often due to cost, busy work schedules and family commitments.
According to a government data analysis by financial aid experts at
Edvisors, the average student graduates $33,000 in debt. Under the
JetBlue Scholars program, crewmembers will only be responsible for
$3,500 in tuition and even that may be covered by JetBlue scholarships
or Pell grants which means a degree may be completely free for those
with financial need.
“Crewmembers asked for help earning degrees and we knew we could take a
big step beyond tuition reimbursement,” said Bonny Simi, founder of
JetBlue Scholars. “We rethought the employer’s role in investing in
education. Utilizing the alternative credit model to unbundle the higher
education process, we’re eliminating some of the complexity. We hope to
inspire other employers to adopt this model which will help dramatically
increase the percentage of Americans who have access to post-secondary
As part of the initial launch, more than 400 JetBlue crewmembers are
currently advancing toward their bachelor’s degrees. The first class is
scheduled to complete curriculum requirements in May 2016. The first
graduation ceremony will take place in September with more than 50
crewmembers slated to receive their degrees.
Rethinking and Innovating in Higher Ed
The JetBlue Scholars model focuses on just learning and has removed some
of the complexity and cost. Eliminating the costs of classrooms, dorms,
sports teams and hardcover books, JetBlue Scholars focuses on a cohesive
curriculum of self-contained and self-directed online courses and
e-books that lead to a degree.
The program opens periodically for enrollment. Crewmembers are assigned
a Success Coach and share their education background, including
transcripts from previous coursework, copies of licenses or
certifications held, records from past military, police or fire training
and any other experiences or documentation that demonstrates past
college level learning. Many crewmembers already hold special licenses
or professional certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA). Much of this is worth college credit. Students receive credit for
what they already know:
The main requirement is at least 15 prior college credits earned from
an accredited two- or four-year college and two years of service at
JetBlue pilot and dispatch training is reviewed and may be approved
for college credit. College credit is granted for pilot, dispatch and
Training and licenses in the fields of medicine, first response
(emergency medical technician, paramedic, police and fire), human
resources, information technology and military training are also
eligible for college credits.
The assigned Success Coach then helps crewmembers map a pathway to a
bachelor’s degree in aviation, liberal studies, information technology
or business from Thomas Edison State University.
Coursework is completed through three innovative learning platforms – Sophia.org,
These American Council on Education (ACE-credit)
(b) courses offer a variety of online videos, lectures and other content
that allows for flexible schedules and self-motivated learning. JetBlue
is also developing new courses internally which prepares crewmembers for
college level exams provided by the College
Board and Thomas
Edison State University. These courses utilize open source material
from providers such as Saylor.org
Courses typically take one to three months to complete and all costs are
covered by JetBlue. After each course is completed and the final exam is
passed, JetBlue facilitates the transfer of college credit(s) to Thomas
Edison State University.
Once crewmembers have earned 114-117 credits, they begin completing
final online courses with JetBlue’s launch partner Thomas Edison State
University. Once 120 credits are reached, the bachelor’s degree from
Thomas Edison State University is conferred.
“We are honored to partner with JetBlue to help its crewmembers complete
their degrees and achieve their personal and professional goals,” said
Dr. George A. Pruitt, president of Thomas Edison State University.
“JetBlue Scholars is an innovative program that leverages the core
competencies of our University – delivering flexible, high-quality
collegiate programs to self-directed adults and assessing college-level
knowledge that has been acquired outside the traditional classroom. We
are very excited about our role in the launch of this unique and
Crewmembers Speak Up About Degree Opportunities
“When it comes to mapping my college degree path, my journey has been
one of discovery, excitement and pleasure – thanks to the guidance
I’ve received from the JetBlue Scholars team. I love being able to see
where I’ve been and what I need to reach my end goal,” Bonnie Merritt,
Reservations Supervisor, JetBlue and current JetBlue Scholar.
“I am on track to finish my next course in two months and it takes a
lot of focus and dedication. While these courses are very flexible,
and I can do them on my own time, it is still a lot of work. After
all, it is college,” Elsy Viala, General Manager, Port-Au-Prince,
Haiti, JetBlue and current JetBlue Scholar.
“It actually dawned on me when I started getting my transcripts, that
I had a lot of credits. I had never seen my military transcript
either. I was surprised to see how close I was to getting my
bachelor’s degree. I want to finish what I started and I’m doing it
through JetBlue Scholars,” Roxanne Hawkins, Dispatcher, JetBlue and
current JetBlue Scholar.
JetBlue Scholars was designed based on crewmembers’ feedback to meet
their needs, interests and career progression goals. Not only is this an
innovative retention vehicle, it helps with internal advancement and has
already positively impacted crewmember engagement. Upon revealing plans
for JetBlue Scholars, in less than one week, 2,500 crewmembers
(approximately 14% of JetBlue’s workforce) responded to indicate their
For more information, visit www.jetbluescholars.com.
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline™ and a leading carrier in Boston,
Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando and San
Juan. JetBlue carries more than 32 million customers a year to 96 cities
in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 900 daily
flights. For more information, please visit JetBlue.com.
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JetBlue Corporate Communications