Disney and University of Central Florida will offer free tuition for Cast Members

in Disney, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

UCF and Walt Disney World

Credit: Disney, UCF

Disney Cast Members and eligible employees can now get a free college education if they enroll at the University of Central Florida.

Disney and the University of Central Florida just announced they have formed a new partnership as part of Disney Aspire, an education investment program that offers 100% free college tuition to eligible Disney employees and Cast Members. Disney Aspire is the most comprehensive program of its kind, as it not only covers all tuition expenses but also reimburses application fees and course materials, making it more affordable than ever for Cast Members and employees to pursue higher education while working for The Walt Disney Company.

Disney Aspire

This partnership seems to be a game-changer for those working at Walt Disney World Resort, as the University of Central Florida is only a short drive away and is Florida’s largest university. UCF noted that the collaboration between Disney and the university is a “natural fit” since both are powerful economic institutions in Orlando and across the state of Florida. The partnership will benefit future UCF students as well as current ones.

“We could not be more excited to be working with Disney to make a high-quality college degree even more accessible,” said UCF Interim President Thad Seymour Jr. “Many of our students already are Disney employees who will immediately benefit, and this program has the potential to change lives in our community for generations.”

Since the Disney Aspire program began in August 2018, approximately 40% of Disney’s 85,000 full-time and part-time hourly employees who are eligible have signed up for the program. More than 6,000 are taking classes for either a high school diploma, a college degree, or vocational skill. With UCF’s close proximity to Walt Disney World (the main campus is only around 30 miles away), we wouldn’t be surprised if that number grew even higher.

UCF Walt Disney World
University of Central Florida Football parade at Walt Disney World to celebrate undefeated season Jan 7, 2018

It’s important to note, however, that the Disney Aspire program does not guarantee admission to any of the universities it is partnered with. Cast Members and eligible employees still have to apply to these institutions, which range from the UCF online program to private nonprofit schools that accept anyone with a high school diploma. Disney Aspire includes a network of schools that offer a wide array of disciplines and diplomas, including undergraduate and master’s degrees, high school completion, English-language and Spanish-language learning, vocational training, and more. There are a variety of schools and programs to choose from in the Disney Aspire program, so Cast Members and employees can figure out which will be the best fit for them, and once they are accepted they can take advantage of the no-cost tuition.

For more information on the Disney Aspire program, visit the official website here. 

What do you think of Disney’s new partnership with UCF? Let us know in the comments!

Source: UCF, Orlando Sentinel

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