Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop chain, announced this past Sunday that it will pay for its workers to attend Arizona State University to complete a bachelor’s degree. The company had recently offered its once restricted stock, Bean Stock, up to its employees, and now the company adds to the perks by offering free college to eligible workers. The Starbucks College Achievement Plan replaces the company’s scaled-down program in which employees who had worked at least one year were eligible for up $1,000 in tuition reimbursement.
How it Works
The Starbucks company will now begin paying for its 135,000 eligible U.S. employees to complete a bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University online, where courses are valued at $10,000 a year. Arizona State University offers up to 40 undergraduate degree programs such as engineering and nursing in which Starbucks employees can choose from. The program was designed in the past six months with close acquaintances Arizona State’s President, Michael Crow, and Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz. ASU President expects around 15,000 Starbucks employees to enroll as students.
We’re able to be a part of a corporation which is valuing human capital at a whole new level.
So What’s the Catch?
There isn’t one! The major coffee-shop chain will pay half of the tuition (around $6,500) for enrolled freshman and sophomores, and enrolled juniors and seniors will receive full tuition reimbursement. The only requirements are that the Starbucks workers be U.S. employees, be employed at one of the 8,078 company-owned stores, and work at least 20 hours a week to be eligible for this program. Company employees working in support centers and roasting facilities, as well as for the Teavana, La Boulange, and Evolution Fresh brands can also participate.
The President of Starbucks’ Americas region, Cliff Burrows, had this to say in a phone interview with Bloomberg:
We’ve always known that our partners work hard every day, and this is the best way we can serve them. The program is meant to help with the financial burden of education, which is the most significant investment we’ve made in our partners since the introduction of Bean Stock.
Another important detail, students will also have no obligation to remain at Starbucks post-graduation.
Starbucks, As a Whole
A reimbursement program like this is rare, going beyond similar programs offered by Walmart, L Brands Inc., Victoria’s Secret, and Home Depot Inc.. The company was reported to have lost 4.7 percent this year in shares, and after the announcement of this program, their share rose 0.2 percent in New York as of 11:07AM.
Though the odds of landing a job at Starbucks may have decreased due to this new program, where more and more employees are remaining with the company, many are excited to see where this takes the company and current/future employees.
With that being said, what do you think of this new program? Would you take advantage of this? Why or why not? Let me know what you think in the comments below! Also, be sure to follow the discussions on other topics here.