Tuition Assistance for OARS Guide School

Each year OARS selects a handful of qualifying applicants to receive financial assistance designed to waive or reduce the cost required to attend guide school in California and Utah.

The OARS tuition assistance program is a sponsored training opportunity that provides selected applicants with a 50% discount on guide school tuition that is paid at the time of enrollment. If the applicant completes guide school, is hired as an OARS guide, and completes 50 paid river days, the employee is eligible to have the remaining 50% cost of tuition reimbursed.

We expect a commitment of two seasons from any recipient of the tuition assistance program. We put a lot of time, effort, and money into training candidates to be successful guides for OARS and we want to see them flourish with us for a minimum of two years at the hiring location. It can be expected as a new guide to take roughly a year and a half to complete 50 paid days and earn the reimbursement.

Our management team will make selections for tuition assistance based on a number of factors including financial need. Applications for tuition assistance must be received by March 15th each year.

“I want to start off by saying I cannot thank OARS enough for offering and then selecting me for the Tuition Assistance Program this year. It really made my decision to move for the summer to embark on the new path as a rookie river guide much easier. Not only did it help financially, but also to know OARS cares about investing in their employees, and even more so their future employees. The program is awesome and I hope my appreciation was demonstrated throughout this season.”

To be eligible to apply for and receive tuition assistance, you must do the following:

  • Complete the Guide School Tuition Assistance Application below and have the following ready:
    • Choice of guide school location and date: Vernal, Utah or Coloma, California
    • Why you believe you should be selected to receive tuition assistance for OARS Guide School
    • Description of your monthly income and expenses
    • Reasons you want to become a river guide
    • Tell us about your background and availability
  • Complete an OARS employment application for guides
  • Complete guide school
  • Get hired as an OARS Guide and complete 50 paid river days

Tuition Assistance Approval: 

Once your tuition assistance and employment applications are received, if you are selected as a finalist, we will arrange a phone interview in late March. Being awarded guide school tuition assistance and completing guide school, does not guarantee employment with OARS. Tuition assistance awardees will be required to sign an agreement to commit to two seasons of working for OARS at the hiring location.  Employment with OARS depends upon the successful completion of a background check, skill level, personal dedication, and the company’s needs for that season. Employment is based on performance, is at-will, and may be terminated at any time. If employment is terminated prior to completing the required 50 paid river days, the remaining reimbursement will be forfeited.

Tuition Assistance Denial:

If your request for tuition assistance is denied, you will receive an email notification from OARS.  If you are not chosen to receive tuition assistance, you may still participate in guide school at full cost. Full cost guide school attendees do not need to apply for employment. If you want to guarantee your spot in guide school, paying full price is the best way to do so.

Deadline to apply: March 15th. The selection process begins March 16th.

Process for reimbursement: Once 50 paid river days are completed as an OARS guide, submit your reimbursement request that includes the paid river days to your manager for approval and verification. Once verified, your reimbursement will be sent to accounting for payment of your out-of-pocket tuition.

“I just wanted to thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be part of such an awesome, life-changing experience and accepting me into your Tuition Assistance Program. For me, guide school was an adventure that I will never forget. I learned so much during that time about whitewater rafting and met some incredibly cool people that I now get to work with as well. Since guide school, I have been lucky enough to work, what I think is the coolest job in the world. I cannot be any more stoked with how the season turned out, and how fortunate I am to work for a company that cares about the future of their employees, and the experiences of all their customers.”

To apply, please complete the form below…

Guide School Tuition Assistance Application





  • So You Want to be a River Guide

    We would like to ask a few questions to get to know you better. We want to make sure you are a good fit for the OARS team and to learn about the need for assistance.









  • Outdoor Background

  • References

    Please provide 3 character references who will attest to your work ethic and need for assistance.
  • Thank you

    Once we have received your employment application and the application for tuition assistance we will have our team review your information. You should hear back from the team before the end of March. Thank you for choosing OARS to start your adventure into the world of river guiding.

    -OARS