(Washington, D.C.) Building on its range of career-building training programs, the National Restaurant Association has partnered with Aspen University on a new undergraduate degree in foodservice operations and management. This collaboration provides undergraduate degree-seeking individuals an affordable education that focuses on restaurant business administration and front-of-house operations. The National Restaurant Association is committed to developing careers for the industry’s nearly 13 million employees.

“The comprehensive restaurant operations and management degree at Aspen University was developed specifically to fit the workforce characteristics of our industry,” said Mike McCallum, Chief Strategy Officer for the National Restaurant Association. “The degree is flexible, entirely online, very affordable, and incorporates the Association’s existing educational programs, including ServSafe and ManageFirst. By obtaining this degree, students and restaurant workers can build strong foundations for their foodservice careers in our industry of opportunity.”

“This new partnership with Aspen University is an extension of our ongoing commitment to developing educational opportunities within our industry. Our ProStart program is providing opportunities for tens of thousands of high school students across the country, and we are confident that this postsecondary program will do the same on the college level,” McCallum added. 

Employees at Association member organizations receive a 50-percent discount on tuition and pay only $90 per credit hour when seeking a Bachelors of Science in Foodservice Operations and Restaurant Management at Aspen University. Additionally, federal financial aid is available for students who qualify.

In addition, Aspen will donate 15 percent of all collected tuition to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to support scholarships to students, professional development for teachers, and mentorship. 

“There are two things I love about our partnership with the National Restaurant Association,” said Dr. D. E. Lady, President and CEO of Aspen University. “The first is that together we are providing so many people with access to finishing their college education on a flexible schedule at a reasonable cost. The second is that we are able to donate 15 percent of all collected tuition back to the NRAEF, creating real value to the industry as well as to the individual.”

The degree incorporates the National Restaurant Association’s well-established training programs and certifications – ServSafe Food Safety, ServSafe Alcohol, ManageFirst, and the Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) – transferred into the degree as credit, or earned as requirements of the degree program.  Association member organizations with their own training programs will be able to submit their curricula to Aspen for evaluation of course credits. 

Aspen University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The Accrediting Commission of the DETC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

For more information, visit www.restaurant.org/careers/education/schools/aspen/ or www.aspen.edu.


Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at www.restaurant.org.

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