LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Starbucks is teaming up with Arizona State University to help pay tuition for more than 140,000 full-time and part-time employees, company officials announced Tuesday.
Under the expanded Starbucks College Achievement Plan, full tuition coverage for nearly 50 online degree programs is available for eligible employees for all four years of college, regardless of whether the employees stay with Starbucks post-graduation, according to the company.
Since last June, tuition coverage had been available to college juniors and seniors, but now all eligible part-time or full-time employees can apply for and complete all four years of a bachelor’s degree through ASU’s online degree program.
The company says it will invest up to $250 million or more to help at least 25,000 partners graduate by 2025.
“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,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks. “By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity. We’re stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success.”
In addition to its expanded tuition coverage, Starbucks has also committed to hiring 10,000 “Opportunity Youth” between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not working or in school over the next three years, the company announced.
The move comes weeks after Starbucks faced a social media backlash over its “Race Together” initiative that encouraged baristas and other employees to start up a discussion about racial issues with customers. The company has since scaled back the initiative.=