NEW YORK (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Over the next four years Target Corp plans to invest some $200 million to offer hundreds of thousands of U.S.-based part-time and full-time frontline workers debt-free educational assistance for some undergraduate degrees and certificates.

Officials say Target plans to offer its workers assistance if they are pursuing business-oriented majors at select institutions such as University of Arizona and University of Denver. Textbooks will also be free.

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Target is teaming up with Guild Education, a Denver startup that negotiates deals between companies and colleges for the program. Target says it’s offering one of the most comprehensive programs.

Target’s program will be available in the fall of 2021 for more than 340,000 students. Workers, including those on the first day on the job, can attend classes at more than 40 schools, colleges and universities. They can choose from 250 business programs like computer science, operations and business management.

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For those interested in pursuing educational opportunities outside of the select programs within Guild, Target says it will provide direct payments to their academic institutions of up to $5,250 for non-master’s degrees and up to $10,000 for master’s degrees each year.

“A significant number of our hourly team members build their careers at Target, and we know many would like to pursue additional education opportunities,” said Melissa Kremer, chief human resources officer at Target in a statement. “We don’t want the cost to be a barrier for anyone.”

Target’s move follows an announcement last month by Walmart that it will cover the full cost of tuition and books for its 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club workers in the U.S. through its Live Better U program.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSDFW.com Staff