Reach for the sky: Disney Aspire expands with new university partners

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Reach for the sky: Disney Aspire offers employees & cast members opportunities to gain a university degree - for free

By U2B Staff 

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Disney Aspire has added Purdue University Global and Southern New Hampshire University to its growing network of schools, offering the firm’s 94,000 employees a wider variety of options to gain a university education for free.

With the partnership, eligible employees and cast members working for The Walt Disney Company can now pursue degrees in Cloud Computing, Digital Photography, Legal Studies and Higher Education Administration, among others, to be delivered by the two institutions.

This is in addition to the more than 300 programmes already offered by Disney Aspire’s current network university and education provider partners such as the University of Arizona, University of Central Florida, Valencia College, Brandman University, University of Florida Online, University of Denver, Wilmington University and Bellevue University.


“We are committed to providing our employees every opportunity to realise their hopes and dreams — at the workplace and beyond,” The Walt Disney Company senior executive vice president and Chief HR Officer Jayne Parker said in a media release.

“We are excited to add Purdue University Global and Southern New Hampshire University to our best-in-class Disney Aspire programme, which now offers even more choices for our employees to create the futures they imagine for themselves.”

Disney Aspire is described as the most comprehensive education investment programme of its kind, with 13 institutions in the US working in concert with education benefits company Guild Education to offer the firm’s employees a chance to gain a university qualification for free.

The company has committed US$150 million to fund Disney Aspire over the first five years of the programme and will add up to US$25 million more each year after that. Like other corporate education sponsorship programmes, Disney Aspire was designed to remove key barriers to college education and support working adults in a multitude of ways.

These include:

  • Cost: The programme covers 100 percent of costs associated with tuition and required books and fees
  • Choice & convenience: It offers learners variety in terms of programmes to take, as well as classes and schedule options
  • Coaching: It provides individual coaching and support from application through graduation
  • Opportunity: Employees and cast members that have taken the programme are not bound in any way to Disney upon completion of their degree or certificate

Since launch in August 2018, some 12,000 students have actively enrolled in classes, with more than 500 having completed programmes and graduated.


Purdue Global is part of the Purdue University system and delivers personalised online education tailored to the unique needs of working adults. Southern New Hampshire University was named one of the nation’s Best Regional Universities by US News & World Report, ranking as the Most Innovative School in the northern region.

“Disney Aspire continues to lead the way as one of the most comprehensive employee education programmes in the country and we are proud that SNHU’s workforce-relevant degree programmes will now be available to Disney employees and Cast Members,” said Southern New Hampshire University president and CEO Paul LeBlanc.

“Our collaboration with Disney will expand access to education for thousands of Disney employees and will allow them to further their career and personal ambitions without taking on any debt.”

“We are proud to work with Disney, an organization known for its commitment to quality in everything it does,” adds Purdue University Global Chancellor Dr. Betty Vandenbosch. 

“We look forward to supporting Disney employees on their personal path to a degree with a student experience that combines relevant real-world knowledge, learning flexibility and a strong online community.”