Columbia College offers discounted tuition to Uber drivers

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COLUMBIA - For students who want to make some extra cash and get a discount on their tuition, Columbia College has a partnership with the ride-hailing company Uber.

If students drive for Uber at least once a month, they can get a 15 percent discount on tuition. Students have to apply to Columbia College and send an email to to get the discount.

According to Brad Wucher, the director of marketing at Columbia College, most of the interest in the program is not coming from students in the Columbia area. Uber promoted the program to parts of California on Twitter.

“Most of our traffic right now is coming from California, which makes a lot of sense. That’s probably where the largest Uber population is,” Wucher said.

Columbia College has over 30 locations across the country, five of which are in California.

Student Uber drivers can get the discount if they take classes in person or online.

Wucher said the flexible schedule that Uber offers helps students get through school at a reasonable cost.

“I hope students can get a couple things out of this. One, obviously an opportunity to save some money. Two, an opportunity to earn some money because Uber is a great way for them to be able to, on their own time and at their own pace, to put a little extra money in their pocket, which is good for everybody,” Wucher said.

Wucher said the partnership started when Uber representatives visited the Columbia College campus.

“Uber was actually here on campus visiting with our career services office because they were looking to grow their workforce here in Columbia,” Wucher said. “And in talking to them with our business development person, we said, ‘Well gee, maybe there’s a way we can actually partner together to provide you with an education option,’ which they saw as a valuable perk to offer to their drivers.”

For Uber, this means more drivers can be successful in college.

"We are excited about our new partnership with Columbia College and the opportunity to help our drivers succeed in their higher education pursuits,” Uber Spokesperson Bobby Kellman said in a statement to KOMU. “We continue to look for new opportunities to give back to the communities we serve and hope to expand this program across Missouri."

Uber has over 160,000 drivers. Wucher said the partnership between Columbia College and Uber is an opportunity for those drivers and the thousands of students at Columbia College campuses across the country to get an education.

“So this opportunity with Uber and our ability to be able to give them at least a large impact across the contiguous United States worked very well for their idea of growing their workforce,” Wucher said.

At the Columbia campus, tuition for “Day Campus” students is $20,936 for the 2016-2017 school year. With a 15 percent discount, that tuition would be $17,795.60.

Because the program is new, Wucher did not say how many students have actually signed up for the program.