In June of 2014, coffee giant Starbucks announced that they had partnered with Arizona State University, or ASU, to helps its employees pursue a higher education. The program, called Starbucks College Achievement Plan, covers all tuition costs for four years through ASU’s online program. All Starbucks employees, and employees of Starbucks-owned businesses, who work an average of at least 20 hours per week in a U.S. store are eligible for the program.
ASU’s online program costs around $60,000 for a 4-year degree. Starbucks covers up to 58% of the costs while ASU provides a scholarship for the remaining 42%. If employees turned students are eligible for federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, Starbucks covers whatever amount is remaining. This can greatly reduce the need for private school loans which often have less favorable terms as compared to federal loans.
Though they are eating a large chunk of the costs, ASU President Michael Crow explained that the school still makes money off of the Starbucks employees. All money made, he said, is invested in expanding other educational initiatives.
So far, thousands of workers have enrolled in the attractive program to pursue a variety of degree programs. For the mutual benefit of both Starbucks and ASU, they both agreed to only work with each other. Starbucks would only offer to pay for an online degree at ASU while ASU would only make this kind of deal with Starbucks.
Employees who enroll in the program have no obligation to continue their jobs at Starbucks after graduation. During the time while attending ASU, however, employees must continue working for Starbucks. If employees fail out or quit their jobs, they are required to repay the tuition.
This is a great move by Starbucks. Not only did it receive tons of positive media attention from across the globe, they also made Starbucks a very attractive place to work at. Look for other companies to follow suit and pursue similar programs.