Starbucks now offering free college education to employees

June 19, 2014


Starbucks makes a bold move

Starbucks has made an extra bold business move forging a deal with Arizona State University to pay for the online college of its 135,000+ U.S. employees; including those who choose to leave the company.

According to the New York Times, Starbucks will provide a  free college education to their workers without requiring that they remain with the company through an arrangement with Arizona State University via online access (which will be announced in more detail, Monday).

The new program will be open to any of the company’s United States employees, so long as they are currently working at least 20 hours per week. The education deal also hinges on the employee meeting the required test scores and grades levels necessary to gain admission to Arizona State. In order for Starbucks to fully pay their tuition, an employee must already have a minimum of two years of college credit. If they have less than two years, Starbucks will pay part of the cost; the rest could be covered by government and university aid, so some courses may still be free.

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Starbucks is doing something pretty innovative here

While many companies offer tuition reimbursement, most come with a bevy of conditions ranging from requiring employees to stay at the company for a certain amount of time to only paying for certain courses: Starbucks is not placing these types of stipulations on their offer and it could prove to be a game changer for students on a tight budget.

“Starbucks is going where no other major corporation has gone,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive of the Lumina Foundation, a group focused on education. “For many of these Starbucks employees, an online university education is the only reasonable way they’re going to get a bachelor’s degree.” I agree. For a lot of people, work, family obligations, and the cost make going to college nearly impossible; this is a different way to still work and earn a degree.

Due to higher interest rates of student loans, the rising cost of tuition, and the questionable job market after graduation, Starbucks’ offer could appeal to large group of individuals desiring an education, but unsure of how to pay for it. And it will certainly boost their philanthropic status as well.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.


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