The Target Corporation announced Wednesday that it would pay for the full cost of college for its employees. The offer covers more than 340,000 U.S.-based employees and constitutes what Target called “the most comprehensive debt-free education assistance program available in the retail industry.”

The offer begins this fall, making all part-time and full-time Target employees eligible for company-paid tuition for hundreds of undergraduate degree and certification programs. The deal also will provide free textbooks, pay for course fees, and cover other incidental educational expenses.

The new educational benefit will apply to employees on their first day of work. It’s estimated that the program could cost Target at least $200 million over the next four years.

“Target employs team members at every life stage and

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