Starbucks Scholarship for college is rolling out and it would allow its workers to earn an online college degree at Arizona State University at a discounted rate. Business Insider reported that the program which is called the Starbucks College Achievement plan will let full- and part-time workers choose from 40 undergraduate degree programs at ASU that will be delivered online. According to the Associated Press, the coffee giant gives a steep discount to 135,000 U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week. Workers will not be required to stay at Starbucks after earning the degree.
Reportedly, the said program substitutes the existing reimbursement program of the company that only gave workers up to $1,000 a year for tuition at City University of Seattle or at Strayer University. Starbucks says that will be phased out by 2015 in favor of the new program, which is far more generous.
“There’s no doubt the inequality within the country has created a situation where many many Americans are being left behind.” CEO Howard Schultz says in a video produced to announce the program. “The question I think for all of us is, ‘Should we accept that, or should we try to do something about it?'”
Reportedly, CEO Howard Schultz, who attended Northern Michigan University on a football scholarship, plans to make the announcement Monday at the Times Center in New York City. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is expected to be in attendance, along with 340 Starbucks employees and their families.
The Associated Press reported that tuition reimbursement is an infrequent benefit for “low-wage workers in the retail industry.”
Report says that Cliff Burrows, head of the Americas for Starbucks, shared his hopes for the program to encourage other companies to offer similar benefits. He added that Starbucks plans to look at expanding the educational perks to workers overseas.
The program is also available to Starbucks’ other chains, including Teavana tea shops and Seattle’s Best.