JetBlue Scholars Named a Winner of the U.S. Department of Education’s ‘2018 Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge’

JetBlue’s employer-sponsored college degree program also awarded the “People’s Choice” award, receiving the highest score during the public voting period
Oct 17, 2018 10:45 AM ET
Press Release

NEW YORK, October 17, 2018 /3BL Media/ – JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) and its employer-sponsored college degree program – JetBlue Scholars – was recently named a winner of the U.S. Department of Education’s “2018 Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge.” The U.S. Department of Education announced the winners last week at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. JetBlue Scholars offers the airline’s crewmembers the opportunity to earn a fully-accredited associate or bachelor’s degree with JetBlue covering most of the cost.

JetBlue Scholars was also one of two programs that received the “People’s Choice” award after receiving the highest score during public voting period. The JetBlue Scholars program features high-quality online courses at a fraction of the cost of traditional college. Since the program launch in 2016, 135 JetBlue crewmembers have earned college degrees. Forty additional crewmembers are slated to receive their degrees from program partner – Thomas Edison State University by the end of this year.

The Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge welcomed bold visions for an educational ecosystem that would broaden access to post-secondary education and provide critical opportunities for all learners to gain the skills they need to thrive among rapidly changing economic conditions. The U.S Department of Education called upon educators, students, policymakers, industry leaders, technology developers, and the public for ideas that ensure equity of access to transformative learning experiences enabled by technology.

“We’re in a competitive industry and we want our crewmembers to also be competitive for positions within JetBlue and beyond,” said Rachel McCarthy, Senior Vice President Talent and Learning, JetBlue. “Our goal is for crewmembers to continue to grow and earning their degree helps open up additional opportunities.”

Aligned with JetBlue’s mission of inspiring humanity, JetBlue Scholars is making the process of earning a college degree more inclusive and accessible than ever. The cost of college is at an all-time high, and more than 31 million Americans have some college education and no degree. JetBlue recognized the dilemma faced by many of its own crewmembers and charted a new, low-cost, high-quality path to make college affordable again.

JetBlue Scholars utilizes low cost, high quality alternative college credit options including new technology-based learning platforms like, and These courses are accepted for college credit at Thomas Edison State University, and are a fraction of the cost of traditional college classes. JetBlue covers the full cost of the degree up to the final semester.

This program gives crewmembers the flexibility to learn at their own pace. The program offers step-by-step support to make it easier for crewmembers who have some previous college credit but do not know how to move forward to complete their degree. JetBlue’s goal is to make higher education more inclusive and affordable so that any crewmember who wants a college degree is able to earn one.

How it Works – Once enrolled in JetBlue Scholars, crewmembers are assigned a Success Coach and share their education background, including transcripts from previous coursework, copies of licenses or certifications held, records from past military, police or fire training and any other experiences or documentation that demonstrates past college-level learning. Many crewmembers already hold special licenses or professional certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) much of which is worth college credit. The crewmember then takes online courses as guided by their coach. 

When crewmembers have earned 114-117 credits, they enroll for the final semester online with JetBlue’s launch partner – Thomas Edison State University. When 120 credits are reached, the bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison State University is conferred. Scholars are able to obtain degrees in aviation, liberal studies or business through JetBlue Scholars.

JetBlue Scholars has proven to be a valuable retention and development tool, leading to increased crewmember engagement and loyalty, resulting in a greater return on investment for JetBlue. For more information, visit

U.S. Department of Higher Education Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge – More than 160 teams responded to this challenge, providing bold visions and transformative pilots for new pathways for postsecondary education and lifelong learning, a marketplace to search for innovative educational providers; and new technologies including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. View the full list of the 25 finalists at Over the coming months, the U.S. Department of Education intends to continue to work with all 25 finalists, supporting these teams to launch pilots that will transform the ecosystem of the future.

About JetBlue

JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 40 million customers a year to 103 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit

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