Walmart Science College Homework Assistance


(EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS)

The Walton Family Foundation — which says it has given some $1.3 billion in K-12 education across the country over the last two decades — announced early this year that it is committing $1 billion over the next five years to help expand charter and other school choice options across the country. What the effect of that financial support will be on public education is explored in this post, by Jeff Bryant, director of the Education Opportunity Network, a partnership effort of the Institute for America’s Future and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign. He has written extensively about public education policy. This appeared on AlterNet, and I am republishing it with permission. (The original has multiple footnotes, which I have removed.)

By Jeff Bryant

Walmart’s recent decision to close 269 stores was a blip on the national media radar, but it was big news in small towns and suburban neighborhoods across America.

“Now we have to figure out how to do our shopping,” a Walmart customer in Baldwin Hills in Southern California lamented.

“Before Walmart’s arrival, Winnsboro had two grocery stores,” a local reporter in that South Carolina town noted. Now that Walmart is gone, so is convenient access to groceries and other retail goods.

“It’s the traditional story of a big corporation driving local competition out of town,” an article in Texas Monthly stated, “and then leaving.”

A Walmart spokesperson told a reporter covering a store closure in a small Mississippi community that closing stores is “strictly a business decision… It made fiscal sense.”

That rationale is nothing new. Stories about local communities being devastated by business decisions made in distant headquarters have become a staple of this era. Time and time again, the nation has witnessed whole towns being hollowed out when big companies uproot local manufacturing plants to move to cheaper labor markets in Mexico or China.

The cause of the trauma and grief is always the same: “strictly business.” “Fiscal sense.”

But what if that story isn’t just about businesses anymore? What if instead of a closed factory or shuttered store, the story is about a closed public school? What if the consequence of these types of “business decisions” isn’t a grown man having to look for another job or an elderly woman having to figure out a new way to pick up her prescriptions, but a child having his or her education significantly disrupted or a whole community left without convenient access to schools?

That question is becoming increasingly urgent as more and more government officials turn to publicly funded but privately run charter schools to compete with and upend local public schools—an education option, it is worth noting, that the family behind the Walmart empire has played a huge role in promoting and funding nationwide.

The Walmart Way For Education

At the same time news of Walmart store closings spread through local media outlets, the Walton Family Foundation (WFF), the private foundation created with the retail giant’s wealth, announced that it would be “doubling down on its investments in school choice with a $1 billion plan to help expand the charter school sector and other choice initiatives over the next five years,” according to a report in Education Week.

[Walton family steps up support for school choice with $1 billion pledge]

This immense treasure trove for expanding the number of charter schools in the country comes in addition to the millions the Waltons have already spent on charter schools. In fact, the foundation’s “strategic plan,” published in 2015, claims, “1 in 4 charters nationally have received WFF startup funds.”

In her book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education,” education historian Diane Ravitch explores whether there is any “commonality between the Walmart business philosophy and the Walton funding of school choice.” She likens the competition that charters pose to public schools to the competition that Walmart stores present to locally owned stores, and suggests parallel consequences: just as Walmart forces stores that can’t match their prices to shut their doors, so charters — which bleed students, and their funding, from traditional schools — cause local schools to close down.

Is the analogy Ravitch poses fair and accurate? Or is this new model for school options being promoted by the Waltons and other self-ascribed education “reformers” something more nuanced? Is there any evidence that their plans for distributing “quality” education are more efficient than democratic governance?

The Waltons Go To School

As the Walmart retail chain became the world’s largest retailer, the Walton family became one of the world’s richest families, with a combined net worth of around $150 billion as of January 2016.

The Walton Family Foundation—the family’s main philanthropic endeavor—was established in 1987 by Walmart founder Sam Walton and his wife Helen. In Sam Walton’s autobiography “Made in America,” he voices a concern for America’s public school system and links education and national economic prosperity, particularly in the context of being able to “compete” with other nations.

Since its founding, WFF has given more than $1.3 billion to K-12 education, according to its own recent calculations, an amount that is surpassed only by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation’s most recent annual report shows well over 50 percent of its 2014 grantee investments went to education ($202.4 million out of $373 million).

Sam Walton’s concerns about America’s public education system were no doubt fed by the animosity toward public schools that spread during the 1980s and, in particular, the presidential administration of Ronald Reagan.

Reagan had campaigned in 1980 on abolishing the department of education, according to Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post, and declared in a speech in 1984, “America’s schools don’t need new spending programs; they need tougher standards, more homework, merit pay for teachers, discipline, and parents back in charge.”

The landmark report from Reagan’s presidency, “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform [15],” published in 1983, set the tone for those years and the years following, warning of a “rising tide of mediocrity” in public education “that threatens our very future as a nation and a people.”

That report proved to be “a golden treasury of selected, spun, and distorted statistics,” noted the late education policy scholar, and Reagan critic Gerald Bracey , 25 years after the report’s publication. Nevertheless, it was hugely influential.

According to the Philanthropy Roundtable, Sam Walton’s second-eldest son, John, who would take control of the Walton Family Foundation after his father’s death in 1992, read “A Nation at Risk” the year it was published and “circulated it among family members,” prompting “a number of discussions” in the family about ways to improve education and influencing his father to announce, “I’d like to see an all-out revolution in education.”

At first, the Walton’s education philanthropy “followed the usual course of education giving,” the Philanthropy Roundtable quotes John Walton recollecting of those early years, doling out money to “programs you hope will address the problems.” But at some point during the 1990s, John Walton’s patience with this approach wore thin, as he found “the improvements [to be] transitory, lasting only as long as the heroes making them work are on the job.”

To create more immediate and lasting change, John Walton came to believe, his foundation’s approach to public education would have to change. The agent of change would be “school choice.”

The Friedman Effect

The whole idea of school choice, most policy experts believe, is credited to the extreme libertarian Friedman Foundation, founded in 1996 by the economist Milton Friedman and his wife Rose to advance his ideas for how to improve K–12 education systems.

“Our elementary and secondary educational system needs to be radically restructured,” Friedman argued in 1995. “Such a reconstruction can be achieved only by privatizing a major segment of the educational system—i.e., by enabling a private, for-profit industry to develop … a wide variety of learning opportunities and offer effective competition to public schools.”

It’s not hard to see why John Walton’s conception of how to improve American schools would be heavily influenced by Friedman’s preference for school choice; both individuals viewed the world through the lens of rational markets. And year after year, the Friedman Foundation has been a consistent recipient of grant money from WFF.

Central to Friedman’s ideology was that schools should be thought of as businesses, with students being, essentially, customers. “In order to have satisfactory performance, you have to have a customer who needs to be served,” Friedman explained in an interview with the conservative Heartland Magazine in 1998.

Where public education had gone wrong in America, according to Friedman, was that the students’ role as the customer in the system had been displaced by the “professionalization and unionization” of teachers. Teachers unions had made education a “monopoly,” Friedman believed, and he falsely correlated the National Education Association’s conversion to trade union status in 1965 to a drop in scores on the SAT. (The scores changed because more students were taking the test.)

As Friedman saw it, “the only solution” to fixing the nation’s education monopoly was “through a system of vouchers.” As long as public schools were essentially free, and private schools charged tuition, most parents would keep sending their kids to the local public school. But introducing a voucher that could be “redeemed” by parents at a private school would break that dynamic, and in turn, break up the public education monopoly.

Friedman’s theory is, of course, grounded in what the Walton family practiced in retail: provide customers with the products they want (in this case, a “good” education for their children), at lower prices, and eventually drive merchants that are unable to compete out of business. Enterprises that are able to endure this churn in the marketplace, the theory holds, will be strengthened by their abilities to hold their customers.

Friedman’s animosity toward teachers unions also meshed with the Walton’s anti-union business practices. As freelance writer T. A. Frank writes for Washington Monthly, Sam Walton was obsessed with lowering business costs, especially payroll, and he believed loyal employees were created by giving them a stake in the business—through profit-sharing, stock options, and other means—rather than by giving them higher wages.

After the founder’s death in 1992, his progeny eliminated many of the employee retention policies Sam Walton created, Frank recalls, but the vigilant opposition to unions remained. While Sam Walton countered the first pro-union outbreak in his stores in 1989 with a series of management seminars exhorting his managers to “care” about frontline employees, his children, in 2000, responded to union activity among the company’s meat cutters by shutting down operations, finding alternative contractors, and summarily firing the instigators of the union organizing.

Fully inculcated with Friedman’s philosophies, and motivated by the myth of school failure spread by the Reagan administration, the Waltons were ready for their education revolution to begin.

A Preference For School Vouchers

John Walton launched the foundation’s battle for school choice by throwing both money and influence into a succession of voucher referendums throughout the 1990s and beyond — only to see the cause defeated at the ballot box time after time, as numerous studies have chronicled. The public, it would seem, was nowhere near as keen on the idea of vouchers as the Waltons and their ilk.

Then in 1998, came the Walton family’s earliest ventures into direct funding of school choice, according toEducation Week, when John Walton joined with New York City financier Theodore J. Forstmann to pledge $100 million “to launch a national privately financed voucher program that would offer scholarships to as many as 50,000 poor students.”

A voucher of $1,000 would be given to each qualifying family to cover most of the cost of attending a Catholic private school, which, at the time, typically cost $1,500 in tuition annually. The idea was a scaling up of an effort the previous year by both Walton and Forstmann to give $6 million to the Washington Scholarship Fund, an organization that offered scholarships to students who wanted to transfer from public schools to private Catholic schools in the nation’s capital.

In a rare interview for Bloomberg Business Week in 2000, John Walton explained his preference for school vouchers over traditional giving to public education institutions.

“I’ve also invested in public schools,” he explained, and the interviewer makes note of “investments in New American Schools, scholarships, teacher and principal training, and other programs that work inside traditional public schools.”

But then Walton added, “I will say that we have had a much more difficult time evaluating the benefits of those investments than we have our [private voucher] investments, where the benefits are so clear and convincing.”

At some point amidst repeated defeats at the ballot box and his frustrations with direct funding vouchers, John Walton decided “choice” needed another option.

The Waltons Choose Charters

That other option was charter schools.

“The Walton foundation itself was one of the early organizations to transition from vouchers to charters,” explains Jeffrey R. Henig in an interview forEducation Week. Henig is a political science and education professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and a co-editor of the book “The New Education Philanthropy.”

In a phone interview with AlterNet, Henig explained that the succession of ballot box losses, as well as numerous opinion polls conducted by conservative groups, influenced John Walton and other voucher advocates to conclude charter schools were the “more politically feasible” option, in Henig’s words.

Henig believes many conservatives view charter schools as a way to “soften the ground” for potentially more private options, though he isn’t entirely sure “the Waltons view charters as a Trojan Horse for eventually providing vouchers universally.”

Nevertheless, he has little doubt the current intention of the foundation is to “rapidly expand the number of charter schools to create a constituency of parents and others who will have a direct stake in the continued funding and expansion of these schools.”

“The Walton Family Foundation has been the strongest and most consistent force in the nation advancing charter schools,” as Ravitch notes. And that has remained true, even after John Walton’s untimely death in a plane crash, in June 2005.

A Controversial Charter Legacy

Since John Walton’s death, a number of other family members have taken up his passion for promoting school choice, particularly in the form of charter schools.

According to a pro-union website, another member of the Walton family, Carrie Walton Penner, sits on the board of the foundation connected to the prominent KIPP charter school chain—on which the Walton Family Foundation has lavished many millions in donations—and is also a member of the California Charter Schools Association. Carrie’s husband, Greg Penner, “is a director of the Charter Growth Fund, a ‘non-profit venture capital fund’ investing in charter schools.” And Annie Walton Proietti, the daughter of Sam Walton’s youngest son Jim, works for a KIPP school in Denver.

Certainly there are beneficiaries beyond charter schools of WFF education money, most notably Teach For America, which has raked in tens of millions of dollars over the years. But year in and year out, top recipients of the Walton Foundation’s largesse are charter schools themselves and the many national, state, and local organizations and political groups that serve and promote school choice and the charter industry. Even TFA is closely associated with charter schools, with a third of the program’s recruits working in those schools.

Yet this unquestioning commitment to charter schools seems grossly detached from the controversy that charters have become in the American education landscape.

The charter school sector has been rife with financial scandal. Local news reports of charter school malfeasance and corruption have become commonplace in states where these schools have proliferated, such as in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

[Troubled charter schools have become a joke — literally]

A series of reports from the Center for Popular Democracy in 2014 and 2015 uncovered many hundreds of millions in “alleged and confirmed financial fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement” committed by charter schools around the country. Authors of the 2015 report called their discovery the “tip of the iceberg.”

The financial problems caused by charter schools stem from the particular blend of public and private players involved. As a recent policy brief from the National Education Policy Center explains, the very structure of the charter school business introduces new actors into public education who can skim money from the system without returning any benefit to students and taxpayers.

The brief’s authors Bruce Baker and Gary Miron – university professors from Rutgers and Eastern Michigan, respectively – note that charters generally aren’t subject to the same disclosure laws that apply to state operated entities and public officials, especially when the governance bodies for these schools outsource management services to for-profit management firms, as is increasingly the case.

The very nature of charters, the authors state, results in a “substantial share of public expenditure intended for the delivery of direct educational services to children…being extracted inadvertently or intentionally for personal or business financial gain.”

Furthering the financial controversy related to charters is the model of how these schools are financed.

As currently conceived, charter schools are funded based on the idea that “money should follow the child.” That is, when students transfer from a public school to a new charter, the per-pupil funding to educate that child transfers as well.

But research studies have shown that this financial model harms the education of public school students. As a public school loses a percentage of its students to charters, the school can’t simply cut fixed costs for things like transportation and physical plant proportionally. It also can’t cut the costs of grade-level teaching staff proportionally. That would increase class sizes and leave the remaining students underserved. So instead, the school cuts a program or support service – a reading specialist, a special education teacher, a librarian, an art or music teacher – to offset the loss of funding.

For these reasons, and others, the introduction of charter schools into communities now invariably sparks division and resentment from parents who stay committed to public schools.

Yet, none of the controversy surrounding charters seems to have altered the Walton Family Foundation’s determination to expand the numbers of these schools on the American landscape.

Answering the Critics

WFF’s apparently unwavering course for charter expansion has drawn prominent critics.

A recent report by Philamplify, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, looks closely at the Foundation’s education reform efforts, especially in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina, and concludes that the “preformulated, specific approach” WFF employs, “fixated on very particular market reform vehicles: publicly funded charter schools and vouchers to attend private schools,” is in fact a hinderance to the “transformative potential of the foundation’s education program.”

As an apparent response, WFF recently issued a paper titled, “Investing in Change: The Walton Family Foundation Charts a New Course,” wherein the Foundation admits that its devotion to “expanding community-wide school choice” may not be “sufficient to improve educational outcomes.” But the paper’s author, Michelle Wisdom, reasons that that insufficiency stems from something other than WFF’s guiding philosophy.

Calling school choice a “theory of change,” Wisdom asserts, “School choice works.” What’s needed now, she argues, is “a favorable policy environment for choice to be truly effective.”

Responding to Wisdom’s paper, Strauss writes on her Washington Postblog, “Choice isn’t enough? So what is?” Most likely, Strauss deduces, nothing short of a total “dismantling [of] traditional public school systems.”

The Formula

“We’re at the early stage of the beginning of the end of public schools,” former classroom teacher and prominent public school advocate Anthony Cody tells Alternet in a phone conversation. “You can already see this in big cities such as New Orleans, Detroit, and Chicago.”

Cody is a harsh critic of education philanthropists. For years he engaged in a public debate with leaders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided material for his book The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation. Cody is also co-founder, along with Ravitch and other education reform critics, of the Network for Public Education.

Cody sees Gates, another major funder of the charter school industry, and Walton as “operating with the same playbook;” although he acknowledges there are differences (notably around vouchers). What the two foundations share, Cody believes, is a devotion to operating schools according to “their belief in business systems.”

He argues that having charter schools compete with local public schools around student test scores will “corrupt education,” as schools chase after ever higher scores at the expense of educating all children equitably. In Cody’s mind, this will inevitably lead to expansions of charter schools, which have more leeway to game the system, and the closure of more public schools.

“There’s no way to compromise with this formula,” he contends, and “no end point at which applying the formula would stop because it impinges on human dignity.”

Cody isn’t the only critic who sees a fundamental problem with choice. When the late Rick Cohen of the Nonprofit Quarterly reflected on the Philamplify study of the Walton Foundation, he argued that “choice” makes education, ultimately, “a zero-sum, focused on the individual and the family and increasingly saying to hell with community… What’s lost is what the nation was trying to achieve in the first place with public education.”

Choice For Who?

Is the Walmart Foundation really intent on dismantling public education through its expansions of charter schools?

Henig argues no, saying the debate of charters versus public schools is not what really what matters “at the parent level.”

In his view, the debate about choice needs to shift from being about charter versus public schools to focusing on the role of democracy in school governance and how to “calibrate” democratic input in decision-making about schools.

That’s an important subject for sure, but when Henig says the debate about charters is not relevant at “the parent level,” it’s not clear what parents he is referring to. He’s clearly not talking about parents in Southside Chicago, where in 2013, families reeled from a rash of school closings coupled with charter school expansions.

As Sarah Karp reported for Catalyst Chicago, Walton had made Chicago its largest recipient of charter school grants, then gave the district additional financial support for a series of community meetings to “educate parents” about the school closures and obscure the role of charter schools. The WFF money paid for “robo-calls to tell parents about the meetings, mailings to parents and ‘other engagement and communication platforms.’”

This churning of public school closings with charter school openings left some stretches of the community without any schools at all, according to an article by Trymaine Lee for MSNBC. Calling these neighborhoods “school deserts,” much like the food deserts many low-income communities know about all too well, Lee quotes community activist Jitu Brown: “This is not about school choice. If it was really about providing us with choices, we’d have the choice to improve our neighborhood schools.”

That the spread of school choice can actually leave some communities with fewer educational options is not a matter constrained to Chicago alone.

In cities such as New Orleans, which now has an all charter system, whole neighborhoods are bereft of schools, and it is now quite common for students to spend hours a day in transit as they trek from their homes to available schools across town. Conditions are similar in some areas of Houston, where parents have coined the term “education desert” to describe “areas where a significant number or share of residents is far from schools.”

“This crisis has reached critical mass,” the Houston parents contend.

Choice Hurts America’s Heartland

Around the same time Walmart was closing stores in rural North Carolina, parents in an Appalachian community in that state gathered at a hearing to fight for their local public school to keep it from being closed down. “Many in the audience sobbed as students talked about losing what to them has been the center of their world as long as they can remember,” a local newspaper reported.

The local reporter noted a “trifecta” of factors leading to the imminent closure. Two in the trifecta—declining student enrollment and state budget cuts—are factors school officials and communities across America have faced many times before. But the third factor was new: “charter school competition.”

We’ll never know if this is an outcome John Walton considered when he committed his family’s billions to the expansion of charters and choice.

What we do know for sure, though, is that when he made his decision to pull back from direct investments in public schools, he did so because he did not see the kind of results he wanted to see.

But what if John Walton’s disappointment in public schools stems from the possibility that Americans, as a whole, want other kinds of “results” from their public schools? What if what they want, as Jitu Brown says of his own community, is the opportunity to “improve our neighborhood schools” instead of having them replaced by the charters preferred by the Waltons?

Meanwhile, as WFF contemplates how to best “soften the ground” for increased school choice, and policy makers ponder the growing impact of philanthropists in education, more communities may have to contend with the reality of schools, public or charter, coming and going based on forces not in their control. Completely lost in the discussion, though, is whether it’s right for the American populace to have its access to education determined by the values and philosophy of a few rich people.

You probably didn't know that Walmart offers a couple of scholarship opportunities for employees and their dependents. These scholarships are meant to cover college or vocational school expenses for those with financial need.

In this guide, I'll start by talking about eligibility requirements and the application process. If you're already familiar with this information, skip to the second half of this post—this is where I'll give tips and strategies for increasing your chances of winning a Walmart scholarship. 

 

What Are the Walmart Scholarships? 

Walmart has two scholarship options:

Both options are geared to assist Walmart employees and their families who might not otherwise be able to afford a college education.

If you win one of these scholarships, you can renew your award throughout the length of your degree program without having to reapply. If you're eligible for both scholarships (for example, if you and your parent both work at Walmart), note that you can only win one.

 

Associate Walmart Scholarship

The Associate Scholarship is available to Walmart employees who have worked full- or part-time at the company for at least six consecutive months before the application deadline. 

The scholarship can be renewed for up to six years, or until the end of the funded degree program (whichever comes first), with a maximum funding limit of $16,000 per degree program. 

Your level of funding depends on (1) your enrollment status, and (2) the type of school you're attending. Here's an outline of the funding levels per award period:

Public US University2-Year Institution (Community College / Certificate Program)4-Year Institution / Graduate Institution
3-6 credit hours = $5003-6 credit hours = $5003-6 credit hours = $750
7-11 credit hours = $7507-11 credit hours = $7507-11 credit hours = $1,125
12+ credit hours = $1,00012+ credit hours = $1,00012+ credit hours = $1,500

Source: Walmart Associate Scholarship Program Guidelines

 

Dependent Walmart Scholarship

The Dependent Scholarship is available to dependents of Walmart employees who have worked full- or part-time at the company for at least six consecutive months before the application deadline. In other words, if you're a child or dependent of a Walmart employee, you're eligible for this scholarship, even if you haven't worked there yourself.

The award is renewable and can be used for up to four years of continuous, full-time enrollment, with a maximum funding limit of $13,000 per degree program. Awards are disbursed, or given out, $1,625 at a time. 

 

Are You Eligible for a Walmart Scholarship?

Unfortunately, neither the Associate Scholarship nor the Dependent Scholarship is open to the public. In order to be eligible, you must be either a Walmart employee or the dependent of a Walmart employee. 

The Associate and Dependent scholarships have slightly different eligibility requirements, which I've outlined below.

 

Associate Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

In order to be considered for the Associate Scholarship, you must meet all the following criteria: 

  • Be either a US citizen orpermanent legal resident of the US
  • Be employed with Walmart at least six consecutive months before the application deadline
  • Have a high school diploma or GED, orbe a graduating high school senior who is planning to enroll in college after graduation
  • If you're applying for the scholarship as a high school senior, you must wait to apply until you're within six months of starting college classes 
  • Be able to demonstrate financial need (I'll discuss how to do this in the section on applying for the scholarship)

 

Dependent Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

In order to be considered for the Dependent Scholarship, you must meet all the following criteria: 

  • Be either a US citizen or permanent legal resident of the US
  • Be the dependent of a Walmart employee who's actively worked with the company for at least six consecutive months before the application deadline (note that dependents of Board of Directors or officers are not eligible to apply)
  • Be a high school or homeschooled graduating senior, or be earning a GED
  • Be able to demonstrate financial need (I'll discuss how to do this in the section on applying for the scholarship)
  • Have a high school GPA of at least 2.0
  • Enroll for the fall semester as a full-time freshman/first-year student at an accredited two- or four-year college or university (does not include military academies)
  • To renew your funds, you must be enrolled full-time, with a minimum 2.0 GPA, and attending a four-year college by your third year

 

You don't need a perfect report card to apply for this scholarship (not that it would hurt!).

 

What Do I Need to Apply for a Walmart Scholarship?

In order to apply for a Walmart scholarship, you'll need to gather some materials and information, especially those concerning your family's financial situation. Below, I list everything you need to have before you can apply for each type of Walmart scholarship. 

 

Associate Scholarship Materials

To apply for the Associate Scholarship, you'll need to have the following information:

 

Financial Information

  • If a family member has claimed you as a dependent, you'll need an electronic copy of your most recent family income tax return. If you have claimed yourself, you'll need a copy of your most recent tax return.
  • Your family's adjusted gross income

 

Other Information

  • A comprehensive list of volunteer or service activities you've participated in within the last four years
  • Name and contact information for your high school
  • Name of the college or vocational school you're planning to attend
  • Your Walmart facility number (ask your manager if you don't have this information)

 

Dependent Scholarship Materials

To apply for the Dependent Scholarship, you'll need to gather the following information:

 

Financial Information

  • Current US federal income tax return from the individual who's claimed you as a dependent

 

Other Information

  • Your high school transcript showing your grades and GPA through your first semester of senior year. This does not need to be an official transcript.

 

How Do You Submit a Walmart Scholarship Application?

You can submit an application for both the Associate and Dependent Scholarships online through the Walmart website. Register for an account and take the appropriate Scholarship Eligibility Quiz to gain access to the application.

If you fail to meet eligibility requirements, you won't be able to submit an application. When your application is submitted, you'll receive an email verification. 

The Associate Scholarship application has several application windows throughout the year. Here are the upcoming application periods:

Application Launch DateApplication DeadlineAward Notification Date
February 1, 2018March 1, 2018April 15, 2018
May 1, 2018June 1, 2018July 15, 2018
August 1, 2018September 1, 2018October 15, 2018
November 1, 2018December 1, 2018January 15, 2019

 

Meanwhile, the Dependent Scholarship application window for this year is January 5, 2018, to April 2, 2018.

 

When Do You Find Out Whether You've Been Selected for a Walmart Scholarship? 

Notification for the Associate Scholarship depends on the application deadline (see chart above). Typically, though, applicants are notified six weeks after the deadline. 

Dependent Scholarship applicants were notified in May for this past application cycle. Therefore, the notification date for this year's cycle will likely be in May 2018.

 

How Can You Use Walmart Scholarship Money? 

If you're offered a Walmart scholarship, you'll need to submit a Scholarship Acceptance Agreement online before any funds are disbursed. Scholarship checks will then be mailed directly to your school. The scholarship money can be applied to charges for tuition, fees, books, and on-campus room and board. 

Associate and Dependent Scholarship funds must be used at an accredited school. Unfortunately, you can't use Walmart scholarship funds at military academies.

 

Use these strategies to submit your very best scholarship application!

 

How to Raise Your Odds of Winning a Walmart Scholarship 

There's a lot of overlap between the Associate and Dependent Scholarships, so first I'll give general advice that applies to both programs. Then, where there are differences between the scholarships, I'll give specialized advice. 

All scholarship applications are evaluated by an independent, impartial selection committee. This means that everyone with a complete application and who meets all eligibility requirements will be considered for the award.

Financial need is considered a primary criterion for both scholarships. There's not much you can do to change your family's financial situation, but you'll have a chance to explain any financial hardships or difficulties in your application. 

 

General Tips for Any Walmart Scholarship Application

  • Make sure you meet all eligibility requirements before beginning the application process. If you don't meet the requirements and answer the Eligibility Quiz honestly, you won't even get access to the application. 
  • The applications ask about your employment history with Walmart. If you or the person who's claimed you as a dependent is in good standing, you'll likely have a better chance of winning the scholarship. 
  • The applications ask about your parents' levels of education. First-generation college students might be more likely to win the scholarship.
  • The applications give you the opportunity to talk about "special circumstances." This is a chance to set yourself apart from other eligible applicants. Here's what to do:
    • Touch briefly on any financial hardships without sounding too self-defeating. Be matter-of-fact and explain how a Walmart scholarship could help you achieve your academic and professional goals in light of your financial limitations.
    • One Walmart scholarship winner said he was grateful for the assistance in funding his education because it would improve his family's future. Will winning this scholarship affect anyone besides you in a positive way? If so, discuss that in your application. 
    • Mention any extraordinary hardships or events that have challenged you. An evaluation committee will be impressed with an individual who has overcome significant obstacles to further pursue his or her educational and career goals.

 

Tips for the Associate Scholarship Application

This scholarship is very competitive—only about 10% of eligible applicants receive the award. As such, it's important to dedicate significant time and energy to your application.

In addition to financial need, an important criterion considered by the evaluation committee is the applicant's level of community involvement.

Here are some tips for your Associate Scholarship application:

  • The application gives you the option to discuss up to three volunteer experiences you’ve had within the last four years. Examples include hospital volunteering; drug, teen, or homework helplines; and outreach programs. Based on these examples, it seems that this program is looking primarily for applicants who have worked with disadvantaged or marginalized populations.
  • Talk about your passion for helping others. Do not repeat information about your volunteer activities; rather, discuss your future educational plans and how they will let you help others.
  • Emphasize any similar volunteer activities you've participated in. If you're currently looking for volunteer opportunities and might apply for this scholarship in the future, seek out a position through which you can demonstrate community involvement. For example, you could volunteer at a nursing home, a refugee center, or a low-income school. 

As you can tell, Walmart likely wants to maximize its impact on the community, which means if it funds students who have also contributed to the community, its impact will be magnified. Your goal is to prove that you'll be able to use the aid to improve your community as an ideal Walmart representative. 

 

Tips for the Dependent Scholarship Application

This scholarship is fairly competitive, with only about 25% of eligible applicants receiving the award. In addition to financial need, an important criterion considered by the evaluation committee is your past academic performance. 

Here are our best tips and strategies for the Dependent Scholarship application:

  • If you're a younger high school student, one of the best things you can do to increase your changes of winning the scholarship is to keep up your grades. A 2.0 GPA is the minimum to apply, but the selection committee will undoubtedly be more impressed with a high-achieving student.
  • Talk about your academic passions and interests. Explain how this scholarship will assist you in achieving concrete career or educational goals based on your academic interests. 
  • If you meet the minimum GPA requirement but have rough patches in your academic record, use your application to explain why. Be matter-of-fact, but don't make excuses. Discuss any hardships that might have affected your academic performance (e.g., you got a job to help support your family, you missed school due to an ongoing illness or injury, etc.).

Walmart has millions of employees, and to maximize the impact of its scholarship funds, it wants to find employees' dependents who are most likely to make the most of their educations. A good predictor of this is the student's academic performance, so emphasize to Walmart that you'll utilize its scholarship funds to ultimately empower your future.

 

What's Next? 

There are lots of scholarship opportunities out there, even if you're not a Walmart associate or dependent. The National Merit Scholarship is one great option; you can also get guaranteed scholarships if your standardized test scores are high enough! 

If you want to explore all your financial aid options and not just scholarships, learn about the Pell Grant and Federal Direct Loans. 

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

 

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