Jan 8, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Ridesharing has changed the face of transportation. Will it also change access to education for its drivers? That’s the goal of a new partnership between Lyft and Guild Education aimed at bridging the gap between people and their college aspirations. Here’s a closer look at this innovative, first-of-its-kind program.

Driving for Dollars...and College Tuition

According to the Lyft blog, the plan will give drivers “exclusive access to tuition discounts and financial aid at thousands of nonprofit universities and programs around the U.S., aimed at helping them go to school debt-free.”  Perks may include tuition discounts of up to 20 percent as well as just under $6,000 in federal financial aid.

Said Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer, “Exceptional hospitality from Lyft drivers is at the heart of millions of meaningful experiences across the country. We know that many Lyft drivers are working to achieve personal or professional goals, which often include continued education and learning. We’re happy to offer this resource to help drivers succeed both on and off the platform."

A Win-Win

For many ridesharing drivers, the job is merely a means to an end involving other long-term goals. This financial support will help them continue to move toward those goals while simultaneously gaining financial help -- and guidance along the way, too, thanks to coaching from Guild’s team of experts on everything from finding the right program to paying for it.

But drivers won’t be the sole beneficiaries of the initiative. Proposes NPR, “The move is an interesting experiment in the gig economy, where a growing class of workers receive zero benefits from a boss and yet competition for their time is fierce.”

The implication? In addition to supporting its drivers, the program may give Lyft an inside edge with drivers who may be working for multiple ridesharing companies with no particular allegiance to one over the other. Lyft general manager Gabe Cohen told NPR, “It is important that drivers feel loyalty to Lyft.”

 

 

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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