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Dollywood Proffers to Pay Education Tuition fees for Employees

All seasonal, part-time, and full-time employees at Dollywood can enroll in the “GROW U” program as of Feb. 24, 2022. Spouses, dependents, and partners will not be able to take advantage of this opportunity. This program was created by HFE. This program also includes The Harlem Globetrotters, Silver Dollar City (Mo.), Adventure Aquarium (N.J.), Newport Aquarium (Ky.), Kentucky Kingdom (Ky.), Wild Adventures (Ga.), and Pink Adventure Tours (Ariz., Tenn., Nev.)

Herschend Enterprises is the nation’s largest privately-owned themed attractions

Corporation. It consists of a team of more than 10,000 employees that creates, develops, and operates entertainment, tourism, and hospitality properties that currently span 23 locations in six states. Guild Education is the nation's leading and upskilling platform.

Herschend partnered with Guild to give employees full access to select fully funded programs at high-quality schools. Hosts will also have access to partially funded programs within the Guild Learning Marketplace. To reduce the burden of upfront, costly tuition payments, Herschend will provide direct payments to the academic institutions up to 5,250 dollars annually for select undergraduate degrees, certificates, and master’s degrees. Herschend will also ensure that smaller out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed. These include textbook costs and course fees for programs within the Guild Learning marketplace up to 5,250 dollars.

To use this education program, one must create an account on From there, one can “Contact a Coach” for assistance or questions. Guild Learning Marketplace is built to support working adults who are trying to balance school, life, and work. Many of the programs offer multiple start dates per year and take place online to accommodate the need for flexible schedules. This program is for part-time or full-time workers.

Term limits vary based on each school and program, and employees are only permitted to participate in only one program at a time. However, one can enroll in a double major or a major and a minor. Hosts may enroll in and complete multiple programs sequentially. There are no minimum course load requirements for employees.

Hosts must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher for undergraduate degree programs and a 3.0 or higher for graduate programs. Programs will be offered online, but some in-person courses may be offered depending on the school and program. Currently, all courses are only available in English, but bilingual coaches may be able to help answer questions in either Spanish or Haitian Creole. Education assistance (tuition and fees) for fully funded programs in excess of 5,250 dollars in a calendar year will be treated as taxable to the employee for federal and most state income tax.

One will not be eligible for Herschend’s education program if they leave the company. However, employees are not required to reimburse Herschend for any completed or uncompleted terms, and there’s no requirement to stay with the company for a specified period of time. A Guild coach can help employees change programs at any time. Herschend will not cover the cost for any current programs but will pay for any future courses once one is eligible. Eligibility is checked at the beginning of each education term.

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