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Swift becomes latest firm to offer online higher education for drivers and their families

Photo: truckstockimages

There’s another truckload carrier that has expanded paid tuition to family members in order to help retain drivers.

Swift Transportation, a subsidiary of Knight-Swift (NYSE: KNX), announced earlier this week a partnership with Southern New Hampshire University, an on-line university. Like the program announced in September by U.S. Xpress, (NYSE: USX) Swift drivers and their families will be able to pursue a degree offered by SNHU.

SNHU’s online program is called College for America and it has a section  targeted specifically at employers offering this sort of benefit. Companies that participate in the program are called “partners.“ According to SNHU, their partners have access to the full SNHU catalog. “We have options tailored to the entire workforce, from project-based models that cater to non-degreed workers, to online MBAs and MS-IT’s to advance your leadership team.”

As U.S. Xpress noted when it rolled out its programs, only an online program can meet the schedule and mobility needs of truck drivers.

In its prepared statement announcing the program, Swift COO Kevin Quast said the company had performed a pilot program last year that resulted in the new program, which is called Drive for Degree. The program was implemented in August and is being announced now.

Like the U.S. Xpress program, it covers eligible dependents who can pursue an education through SNHU with Swift paying for tuition. The U.S. Xpress program was specific in limiting the benefit to two family members at any one given time. Swift did not offer specifics on whether it also has such a limit, but it did say that “additional” family members can pay their own way but at a discounted rate.

The U.S. Xpress program was with online education provider Ashford University, which is completely online. SNHU actually does have physical facilities in New Hampshire, but it is a heavy advertiser for its College for America online programs.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.