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In a game-changing move, coffee giant Starbucks has taken a big leap forward when it comes to the educational advancement and ambitions of its employees.
On Monday, Starbucks announced its partnership with Arizona State University (ASU), and revealed its plans to provide tuition reimbursement and financial aid to US employees who enroll in the school’s online bachelor’s degree programme.
Through this collaboration, Starbucks employees working an average of 20 hours per week at any company-operated store in the United States may choose from more than 40 undergraduate degree programmes taught by ASU’s faculty.
These include courses such as electrical engineering, education, business and retail management.
“Partners (employees) admitted to ASU as a junior or senior will earn full tuition reimbursement for each semester of full-time coursework they complete toward a bachelor’s degree,” a press release from Starbucks stated.
“Freshmen and sophomores will be eligible for a partial tuition scholarship and need-based financial aid for two years of full-time study. Partners will have no commitment to remain at the company past graduation.”
Titled the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, this programme is designed to help employees who were unable to complete their degrees due to mounting debt, a tenuous work-life balance and a lack of support.
“In the last few years, we have seen the fracturing of the American Dream,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chairman, president and CEO, stated.
“There’s no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind. The question for all of us is, should we accept that, or should we try and do something about it.”
In addition to financial support, Starbucks and ASU will also provide programmes to aid the unique needs of working students.
While in the programme, employees will be allocated an enrollment coach, financial aid counselor and academic advisor to support them through graduation.
Adaptive learning services will also be provided to help students progress at the right pace, along with networking and community building opportunities and additional resources to help students plan their education.
“Our investment in high-quality education will attract and retain passionate partners who will move our company and our economy forward,” Schultz said.