Companies Eliminating College Degree Requirement Amid Soaring Tuition Costs

At Walmart, hundreds of corporate roles no longer require a college degree.
Graduating class walking towards their ceremony, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Companies are scrapping their college degree requirement as sky-high tuition costs keep four-year degrees out of reach for many young people.

Several U.S. companies including Google, Walmart, IBM, Bank of America, and Accenture have announced plans to slash the number of their jobs that require college degrees.

At Walmart, hundreds of corporate roles no longer require a college degree, the company saying last month that it wants to remove “unnecessary barriers” to career advancement.

Walmart also said it will waive the college degree requirement if a candidate can demonstrate they developed the necessary skills through previous experience or another kind of learning.

College tuition prices have been rising for years, pricing more and more families out of higher education and causing students to take out tens of thousands of dollars in massive student loans.

Some experts say companies placing less emphasis on degrees is a sign that companies are focusing more on skills.

“If you are going to work for a tech company, what’s more important? A college degree or practical experience that you can code,” Entrepreneur Ted Jenkin, CEO and founder of Exit Stage Left Advisors and Oxygen Financia, told Fox News.

“It’s becoming clear with the out-of-control cost of college education that the very word ‘degree’ is getting watered down and companies want to hire people who can prove they can get things done,” Jenkins said.

Google has been scrapping the degree requirement for certain positions for several years. About 93% of Google’s job postings included a degree requirement in 2017, but by 2021 that number had dropped to 77%, according to a Burning Glass Institute report.

For entry-level positions, Google also allows its online certificate program to replace the four-year degree requirement.

Apple has also seen an 18% drop in its job postings that include a degree requirement — in 2017, 88% required a bachelor’s degree, but that dropped to 72% in 2021, according to the report.

IBM announced in 2021 that it was stripping bachelor’s degree requirements for more than half of its U.S. job openings, saying the company was moving to “prioritize skills over specific degrees.”

Bank of America said last year that it dropped college-degree requirements for most of its entry-level jobs.

At Accenture, a Dublin-based information technology services and consulting company, 80% of the company’s 1,200 employees do not have four-year degrees. Instead, Accenture has an apprenticeship program.

Overall, 46% of “middle-skill occupations” and 31% of “high-skill occupations” saw their college degree requirements drop, the Burning Glass Institute report noted.

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