Restore Educational Benefits for Service Workers at AU

53 Years of Serving Food in the Terrace Dining Room and Still No Tuition Benefits.

Is This the Best AU Can Do? Is This Respect for the Labor of Others?

White-Collar Workers Gain Tuition Remission after 4 Months. Cooks,and cleaners are left out forever.

(The photo below was taken in 2015)

Ms. Williams no tuition benefits for 47 Years


Have the service workers on campus ever received tuition benefits for themselves and their children?

In the mid 1980s, the university privatized dining and cleaning services on campus, and brought in outside vendors to manage cooking and cleaning services.

According to Nancy Bryant, who worked in the Terrace Dining Room for over thirty years, the workers kept their free tuition benefits for a few years, but then the benefits were revoked.

Since the late 80s, the cooks in the Terrace Dining Room and all the food related workers at all the snack bars on campus, and all the cleaners in the residence halls and other buildings have not had the benefit of free tuition for themselves or their children.

White collar workers and the blue collar workers in the construction trades on campus receive free classes through tuition remission for themselves after four months and for their children after two years.

What exactly are the benefits which AU is keeping from cooks and cleaners?

From AU’s Website:


After four months of active full-time employment, American University offers tuition remission for eligible employees, spouses and same-sex domestic partners at American University and Wesley Theological Seminary.

After two year of active full-time employment, your eligible dependent child(ren) may receive:

  • American University or Wesley Theological Seminary undergraduate scholarships for up to four academic years, or
  • American University or Wesley Theological Seminary graduate tuition scholarships for up to two academic years, or
  • Undergraduate tuition scholarships at over 600+ colleges and universities through the Tuition Exchange network for up to four academic year.

Rules and restrictions apply and some benefits are taxable.

What are some of the 600 schools where AU administrators and faculty sent their children for free each year if they don’t send them to AU for free?

See the list of the schools which exclude AU cooks and cleaners at

and more information at

What Has the University Said in the Past about Its Arrogant and Disrespectful Treatment of Cooks and Cleaners?

Administrators have said that the University can’t provide educational help to employees of vendors on campus. This is misinformation. The University under its charter can provide educational benefits to anyone, anywhere, anytime it chooses.

In the fall of 2017, American University restored free tuition for the children of its service workers. But it still refuses to provide free classes to the workers themselves.

In 2018, AU offered service workers the ability to audit classes for free. But this is a fake benefit. The audit classes do not offer credit. Would anyone sit in on a class after a shift on their feet and take the class without getting credit for it?

President Burwell and other administrators should be ashamed of this weak effort at equality. Other schools with much smaller endowments are making serious efforts at equal educational benefits. See what Franklin and Marshall College is doing at

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