PHOENIX (AP/KSAZ) - Uber drivers will be able to pursue higher education through a new partnership between the ridesharing app and Arizona State University.
Both parties announced the start of a pilot program Thursday in which eligible drivers can take ASU classes online with the cost of tuition fully covered.
According to a news release, the money will come from Uber, ASU and aid programs.
The program will launch in eight places including Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa and New Jersey.
Drivers who have done at least 3,000 rides and have "platinum" or higher status are eligible.
An applicant can earn a degree or go through a continuing education program.
Drivers can also choose to transfer the opportunity to a family member such as a spouse, sibling or domestic partner.
"I was super surprised, because ASU is a very good college," said Uber Driver Kendra Welch, in a phone interview.
Welch, 33, works 15-hour days with two jobs, and was too busy to do an on-camera interview. For her, with a regular 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job and Uber gigs during the evenings and weekends, college was never within her reach.
"II just didn't want to put myself in a bind, and not be able to afford rent or my car payment," said Welch.
On the very first day the program was launched, Welch enrolled in ASU's online Criminal Justice program.
"I haven't been to college at all, and this is my first time going," said Welch. "It's just too expensive and it's not something i can afford. It's an opportunity to be able to go and not pay out of pocket."