What is the Better Futures program?
JBS USA and Pilgrim’s are building Better Futures to be the largest free college tuition program in rural America and to provide our team members and their dependents the opportunity to pursue their higher education dreams (associate degrees, trade certificates) tuition-free.
Why is the Company offering the Better Futures Program?
The Better Futures Program aligns with our mission to create the opportunity of a better future for our team members. We believe that community college and technical schools provide team members and dependents an opportunity to learn, develop, and grow as they work toward their future goals.
How many credits does the program cover?
The program covers up to 15 credits per semester and up to 30 credits per year, with a cap of 60 credits total for the program (or the cost equivalent of non-credit courses at the college).
What should I expect to pay out-of-pocket?
Better Futures Program students should expect to pay up to $500 per year for general fees and books. The company covers all tuition costs and some general fees to keep the general costs per student low. Aside from general fees and books, Better Futures Program students may have some additional costs that vary by location and school (including individual course fees, lab fees, parking permits, etc). Your partner school can help you estimate costs based on your degree program, course load, and financial-aid profile.
What is the FAFSA?
The U.S. Department of Education uses the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based federal financial aid for college based upon their financial situation. This aid can include federal, state, and local grants and scholarships.
Why am I required to complete the FAFSA?
We require Better Futures Program students to complete the FAFSA completion to help lower the cost of education for each student. By completing the FAFSA, you may be eligible for aid that will not only cover the cost of fees and books, but may also help pay for other educational expenses (including technology, individual course fees, transportation, supplies, etc). Between the company and any financial aid you receive, your community or technical college education may be entirely free!
In the case where a student is ineligible for the FAFSA, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options to utilize the benefit.
How does the Program work with other financial aid?
The Better Futures Program operates as a last dollar model of funding to help lower the cost of college to provide a tuition-free experience. The Company commitment is customized for each student, and pays the remaining tuition balance after federal, state, and local grants and scholarships have been applied.
How many team members or dependents can utilize this benefit at a given time?
Participation is limited to one dependent or team member, per team member, at any one time. Qualifying team members with multiple dependents may utilize the benefit more than once, but the program can only be utilized by one dependent at a time.
What if my spouse/partner works at the Company as well? Can we both utilize the benefit?
Each team member can utilize the benefit for themselves or one dependent per term.
Are there specific courses that I or my dependent are required to take?
No. Team members and dependents are able to select any courses or degree programs they wish to.
What if there is not a Community or Technical College near me?
If there are no partner schools near the facility or team members are unable to utilize the benefit in person, team members will be directed to Rio Salado College, our online college partner.
Can I take courses during my work shift?
Team members will not be approved for time off during their work shifts to complete courses or coursework. Any team member wishing to utilize the Better Futures Program must plan to do so outside of their work shifts.
What if my dependent or I enroll part-time? Can an additional dependent utilize the remainder of the benefit in the same term?
No. The benefit is only available to one team member or one dependent each term, regardless of the enrollment status of the student.
What happens if I cease to be an employee of the Company in the middle of a semester?
In the event a team member ceases to be an employee of Company in the middle of a semester, the Qualifying Student(s) will be permitted to complete the semester in the Program, but will not be eligible for the benefit thereafter.
How did the Company choose the partner colleges?
Human Resources team members from JBS USA and Pilgrim’s chose approved partner colleges based off prior relationships between facilities and colleges, and the proximity to our facilities to help reinforce our commitment to the Hometown Strong initiative.
We are committed to providing meaningful investments that have a lasting impact in our communities for generations to come. In this case, our investment is being made in the futures of our team members and their families, as well as the partner colleges.
How soon after I start at the Company can I participate in the Better Futures Program?
The Better Futures Program provides free community college or technical school tuition to any team member or child dependent of a team member who:
- Is in good standing,
- Has been employed full-time by the Company for the preceding six months,
- Has a base salary that does not exceed $130,000 per year, and
- Remains employed by the Company during the dependent’s or team member’s community college term
How will JBS USA and Pilgrim’s pay the partner college?
The partner college will invoice the Company directly for the tuition charges each term, and the Company will pay the partner college directly for the aggregate tuition costs for any Better Futures students utilizing the benefit at that partner college.
How long would it take the Company to pay the invoice?
In most cases, the Company will pay the invoice 30 days after receiving it.
Can I use this for my grandkids?
If a team member has sole custody of their grandchildren, the grandchildren are considered eligible dependents for the benefit. Team members will be asked to provide proof of sole custody in these cases.
What if I live in a different state than the partner college for my plant?
In the event a team member is a resident of a different state than their plant’s partner college, the team member or dependent child must utilize the Rio Salado College online partner option.