Starbucks Offering Free Tuition to Workers

Employees nationwide at Starbucks are eligible to receive college education free through an online program at Arizona State University starting this fall.

The initiative is new and touted as a first of its kind. It will give many of the 135,000 workers at Starbucks the opportunity to graduate without any debt from ASU and with no repayment requirement or a need to stay working with Starbucks after they graduate.

The funding of the initiative will come from a Starbucks and ASU partnership.

Michael Crow the President at ASU will appear on Monday in New York with Howard Schultz the CEO at Starbucks and Arne Duncan the Secretary of Educations to launch Starbucks College Achievement Plan, the partnership between the coffee shop chain and ASU.

Under this new program, employees at Starbucks who work a minimum of 20 hours per week will be given full tuition reimbursement when enrolling in the online program at ASU as a junior or senior.

Others can apply for a $6,500 scholarship if they enroll in the program as a freshman or sophomore. ASU advisers also will help the workers apply for other financial aid that is need-based including Pell Grants, said the university.

The partnership, said Crow is a way in which to help different students throughout the country to graduate for a university without any debt.

Crow added that Starbucks had decided that human capital was an important asset they wanted to invest in.

Starbucks CEO Schultz spoke of the fracturing of the American Dream. The CEO said the inequality in our country created situations where many today are left behind.

Recently, ASU has built its program online into one that is close to the largest in the nation. It is a leader amongst the public schools in an area that has been dominated until now with for-profits.

This past spring close to 10,000 students enrolled full time online and 6,700 were at the undergraduate level. ASU has 33 undergraduate as well as 30 graduate online programs.

The school’s diverse online programs are gaining a nationwide reputation as some of the best.