Starbucks doubled down on its commitment to education, now giving any employee with access to the Internet the opportunity to earn a four-year degree.
In a partnership with Arizona State University, the coffee giant has already been offering tuition reimbursement to juniors and seniors enrolled in ASU’s online degree program. In an announcement made this week, Starbucks said they’re opening the program up to all 140,000-plus Starbucks employees who work at least 20 hours per week.
Eligible employees enroll in the program and then obtain loans to cover the cost. Assuming they receive passing grades, students are then reimbursed for the cost of the loans at the end of each semester. “The unfortunate reality is that too many Americans can no longer afford a college degree, particularly disadvantaged young people, and others are saddled with burdensome education debt,” said Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. “By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them with a critical tool for lifelong opportunity.”
Starbucks hopes this program will lead to as many as 25,000 graduates by 2025. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, nearly 2,000 Starbucks employees have already enrolled in the program, which was first introduced last June. With all those new students, ASU may want to change their colors from maroon and gold to green and white.