Starbucks expanded its free college tuition plan for every eligible employee in the United States to four years as part of its commitment to redefining the role of a public company.
Starbucks College Achievement Plan
The coffee giant created the Starbucks College Achievement Plan in partnership with the Arizona State University to provide additional pathways to opportunity for its employees. Starbucks introduced the program in June 2014. It was previously available to its employees, who are in their junior and senior years in college.
The Starbucks College Achievement Plan will be offered to more than 140,000 full-time and part-time employees. The full tuition coverage is now available for all four years of college through the online degree programs of ASU. The company added that it is now offering faster tuition reimbursement by the end every semester.
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There are approximately 2,000 Starbucks employees who are currently enrolled in the program. Starbucks will invest around $250 million or more to help at least 25,000 employees graduate by 2025. According to the company, its employees do not have to commit to staying with Starbucks after their graduation.
In a statement, Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz emphasized that everyone deserves a chance to achieve the American dream. He said, “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.”
“By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them a critical tool for a lifelong opportunity. We’re stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success,” added Schultz.
On the other hand, ASU President Michael Crow said, “The College Achievement Plan has been a powerful demonstration of what is possible when an enlightened and innovative corporation joins forces with a forward-thinking research university.”
Starbucks committed to hiring 10,000 Opportunity Youth
Starbucks also announced its commitment to hiring 10,000 Opportunity Youth over the next three years. Opportunity Youth is a population of almost six million disconnected young people between the ages 16 and 24 who are out of school or not working.
The coffee giant believes that the Opportunity Youth with the right skills and training represent a huge untapped talent pool for American businesses. Starbucks hopes to create a sustainable future for this group of Young Americans through employment and access to higher education.
Another win for students
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented that the announcement of Starbucks and ASU was another win for students, and an example for other businesses and industries.
Sec. Duncan said, “Partnerships like this one show how innovative strategies can expand access to college for thousands of students. I hope more institutions and companies will take their lead to collaborating, we can all do more to make higher education more attainable and affordable.”