Chick-fil-A will invest $19 million in restaurant employees’ continuing education this year, awarding college scholarships to 7,492 team members in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada. Employees can apply their scholarships to any area of study at any accredited institution, furthering Chick-fil-A’s long-standing commitment to education and helping restaurant team members achieve their academic dreams.
To celebrate the scholarship recipients, Chick-fil-A invited 12 employees to join what they thought was a virtual retreat on March 17. During the virtual meeting, Chick-fil-A Chairman and CEO Dan Cathy surprised each of them with a $25,000 True Inspiration Scholarship. The 12 True Inspiration Scholars were also given laptops to use as they continue their studies. In addition, throughout March and April, local Chick-fil-A franchise operators are awarding $2,500 Leadership Scholarships to 7,480 team members.
“Since 1970, our scholarship programs have been instrumental in our investment in the growth and success of restaurant team members and their professional and personal development,” says Cathy. “This year’s inspiring scholarship recipients possess strong leadership skills, demonstrate a commitment to academic achievement and continue to make a positive impact on their communities. Our mission is to play a small part in furthering their education, giving them hope and opportunities to change the world.”
This year, nearly 400 additional scholarships were funded through the sale of Chick-fil-A Bottled Sauce at retail stores. Chick-fil-A Bottled Sauces were introduced in select states in 2020 and will become available nationwide later this spring, with 100 percent of the Chick-fil-A, Inc. royalties going toward the Remarkable Futures Scholarships initiative.
Chick-fil-A’s scholarships initiative offers unique benefits to restaurant team members:
Up-front payment: Chick-fil-A scholarships are awarded to recipients up front and can be directly applied to tuition costs, without requiring tuition reimbursement. This program is one of the highest unrestricted per-employee scholarship investments in the quick service restaurant industry.
Applicable at any school, college or university: Scholarships can be applied in any area of study at any accredited institution of the Team Member’s choice, including two- or four-year colleges and universities, online programs, or vocational-technical schools.
Employment requirements: There is no requirement of hours worked or length of service to qualify.
In a 2020 survey of scholarship recipients, 54 percent of Chick-fil-A restaurant team members stated their scholarship made it possible to attend college, with 16 percent being first-generation college students. Nearly 98 percent of the 2020 scholarship recipients surveyed said that scholarship opportunities are an important benefit to working at Chick-fil-A restaurants.
There are three ways Chick-fil-A team members can receive educational assistance through the Chick-fil-A scholarship initiative:
$25,000 Scholarship: This year, 12 restaurant employees received an individual, one-time $25,000 True Inspiration Scholarship. Supported by their local Operator, team members who demonstrate financial need, academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement are encouraged to apply.
$2,500 Scholarship: In 2021, 7,480 team members will receive a $2,500 Leadership Scholarship for the upcoming academic year. Employees may reapply for a potential total of up to $10,000 in scholarships for continuing education while working at a Chick-fil-A restaurant. For the first time, 225 team members were awarded a scholarship for the fourth year in a row.
Educational Assistance Opportunities: In addition to scholarships, Chick-fil-A offers the approximately 160,000 restaurant employees across the country access to tuition discounts of up to 30 percent and other educational benefits at over 100 colleges and universities. The benefits can be combined with either of the above scholarships.
Since 1970, Chick-fil-A, Inc. has awarded more than $110 million in scholarships to more than 66,000 restaurant team members. To be eligible for a scholarship or educational assistance, applicants must be restaurant Team Members employed by an independent, franchised Chick-fil-A restaurant business, a Chick-fil-A, Inc.-operated restaurant, or an S. Truett Cathy (STC) brand restaurant.