Yes, it’s true that some American companies still have a sense of social responsibility. Starbucks recently announced that it will offer employees full tuition at Arizona State University’s online program, giving them the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree for free. The coffee chain already offers its baristas two years of undergrad tuition at ASU under its existing college achievement program. Now the company is extending that to four years for most of its workers.
Here are more details:
Who can apply: All full- and part-time U.S. employees who do not already have a four-year degree. Starbucks says 70 percent of its workers do not have a bachelor’s degree.
Who’s not eligible: Workers at Starbucks’ “licensed stores,” such as those located inside grocery stores.
Can you leave Starbucks after graduating: Yes. Employees will have no obligation to remain at Starbucks after they graduate.
How does it work: Starbucks employees who qualify will receive a scholarship from ASU that covers 42 percent of the cost for each credit of course work. Starbucks will pay the remaining 58 percent, minus any other scholarships the employee receives.
How often will Starbucks reimburse you: Starbucks will reimburse tuition costs at the end of each semester, as opposed to the end of each year as it currently does. So, employees who drop out or leave the company will be responsible for paying tuition for that semester.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the economy will benefit from having more educated workers in the labor force. “There are nearly six million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not working or in school,” says Schultz. “With the proper education, these ‘opportunity youth’ represent a huge, untapped talent pool for American businesses.”
Starbucks noted that the tuition reimbursement program is aimed at helping its staff, particularly underprivileged young workers, afford the education they need to succeed. So far more than 140,000 out of a total of 191,000 employees are eligible for the program. Currently, there are about 2,000 Starbucks workers enrolled in ASU online courses. In addition to tuition reimbursement, Starbucks offers benefits, including health care and 401(k) matching for both full- and part-time workers.