Why Starbucks Decided To Pay For Your College Degree

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If you’re a barista at Starbucks, you might also have a chance to get a college degree on the coffee chain’s dime. Partnering with Arizona State University, Starbucks will give 135,000 U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week the chance to obtain their undergraduate degree online at a big discount.

The move comes at a time when it is difficult for many people with low incomes to get a college degree. Advancement opportunities that come along with education often times seem out of reach.

But now, Starbucks is saying enough in a revolutionary way.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined CEO Howard Schultz to announce the program at a New York event where about 340 Starbucks workers and their guests were in attendance.

“Think of the example you can set for the rest of the nation,” Duncan said. “If you guys can do this well…you’re going to change the trajectory of the entire country.”

For the Starbucks founder, the program is personal. At the event Schultz explained that he was the first in his family to attend college and the experience forever changed his life.

Workers who choose to take advantage of Starbucks’ education program will be able to pick from 40 different online programs. The worker doesn’t have to stay with the company after they graduate either.

Currently the coffee company has a program that gives workers up to $1,000 a year at City University of Seattle or Strayer University. However, they will end this program by 2015 explaining that the new program will provide far more assistance.

A number of factors including the worker’s situation with financial aid would affect exactly how much Starbucks will cover. According to AP, “for the freshman and sophomore years, students would pay a greatly reduced tuition after factoring in a scholarship from Starbucks and ASU and financial aid, such as Pell grants.” And for junior and senior years, Starbucks would reimburse any money that workers pay.


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