Restaurant Chains Save Students Money

Gail McCullough, owner of Chick-fil-A in Poland, explained student requirements for scholarships through the chain. Photo by Krista Ritz

By Krista Ritz

Gail McCullough, owner of Chick-fil-A in Poland, explained student requirements for scholarships through the chain. Photo by Krista Ritz

Restaurant chains give millions of dollars in scholarship opportunities for student employees. 

Chick-fil-A, Chipotle and Taco Bell are among many restaurants offering scholarships to employees. Since all three have locations on campus, the scholarships are a way for students to connect with this opportunity.

According to its website, Chick-fil-A has invested $92 million in college scholarships for their team members since 1973.

Gail McCullough has been the owner of Chick-fil-A in Poland for 40 years and said the company’s scholarship opportunity is available to students who work for any Chick-fil-A within the area.

“[With] this college scholarship, [students] can get $2,500 or $25,000 scholarship. This is done on a one-to-one basis. They give away around 40 [scholarships] a year and the $2,500 is open to most team members in the chain,” McCullough said. 

Chick-fil-A employees must meet requirements to receive a scholarship.

“You have to have some type of community service that goes with this besides being an active team member. They want people to help out in the community. To help out with their schools or churches and reach out any way they can,” McCullough said.

Other requirements include being an undergraduate or graduate student planning to enroll in a two- or four-year university or technical school and having a minimum GPA of 2.5.

Chick-fil-A looks for college-oriented students when hiring, McCullough said. One YSU student won the $2,500 scholarship three times.

Junior business administration major Alyssa Beeman is a catering manager at Chick-fil-A in Poland. She received the $2,500 scholarship for the last three years and said she has benefited greatly from it.

“You can choose how the money is broken down between two semesters, and both scholarships are generous amounts that help take the load off taking out other student loans,” Beeman said.

Beeman encouraged students to work in the food industry.

“The food industry can be a very challenging but rewarding field to work in as a student. You can learn communication skills, leadership, teamwork and how to handle difficult situations,” Beeman said. “Everything a student could learn from working in the food industry can help them in a future career. I would recommend finding a job in the food industry where you can learn these skills … that will provide opportunities for growth.”

Along with Chick-fil-A, Chipotle has a tuition reimbursement program where students can receive $5,250 a year.

Assistant manager Chelsea Henrie has been working at Chipotle in Boardman for 12 years and received two years of benefits from the program.

According to Henrie, employees must have at least one year of employment at Chipotle, maintain a C average and meet their performance review expectations.

Originally, the tuition reimbursement was only available for salaried managers, but now it is offered to any students attending college.

“It’s really great. It’s a reimbursement so it goes straight into your bank account. I think that’s a really great incentive as long as the hours are manageable with what you’re doing,” Henrie said.

Taco Bell gave $3 million in scholarships for its workers. It requires recipients to be 16-24 years old, have three months of continuous employment and be enrolled in a post-high school program.

Students can visit the restaurants’ websites for more information on scholarship opportunities.