Starbucks has partnered with Arizona State University to offer free online college education to 135,000 of its workers.
Employees who work at least 20 hours a week and enroll online as college juniors or seniors will receive full tuition reimbursement. Freshmen and sophomores will be eligible for partial tuition scholarships and need-based financial aid. Surprisingly, Starbucks is not requiring these students to stay on with the company.
“Starbucks is going where no other major corporation has gone,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive of the Lumina Foundation. “For many of these Starbucks employees, an online university education is the only reasonable way they’re going to get a bachelor’s degree.”
Workers will be able to choose from 40 different educational programs through ASU. According to Starbucks spokeswoman Laurel Harper, about 70 percent of the company's workers are students or aspiring students.
“In the last few years, we have seen the fracturing of the American Dream," said Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz in a statement. "There’s no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind. The question for all of us is, should we accept that, or should we try and do something about it... Everyone who works as hard as our partners do should have the opportunity to complete college, while balancing work, school and their personal lives.”
Starbucks: good for coffee and a college education!