Starbucks partners with Arizona State to offer discounted, reimbursed tuition

Caffeine isn’t the only thing you can get at Starbucks these days; now the coffee chain is offering discounted and fully reimbursed tuition.

Starbucks employees who work at least 20 hours a week and enroll in an online program through Arizona State University (ASU) will receive about half of their tuition for the first two years, around $6,500, and the full amount for their final two years.

ASU was chosen to partner with Starbucks as it has one of the largest online degree programs in the United States, offering 40 undergraduate majors to 11,000 online students.

Cass Possehl, the student body president of ASU, told Campus Reform that “this is something that has been in discussion for the last four years”.

“Aligning with Arizona State’s mission of educating people no matter their background or access they have to education is the number one thing we have to look at here. Our university is extremely concerned with students who have the hardest time making it through a higher education process and this plan is centered around that,” Possehl said.

The program offers roughly $39,000 of reimbursed tuition, which includes “a dedicated enrollment coach, financial aid counselor and academic advisor” for each Starbucks employee. Although the student must pay for the cost upfront, the reimbursements will automatically appearin the employee’s paycheck after 21 credit hours have been completed.

The President of ASU, Michael Crow, figures that the program will attract around 15,000 to 20,000 employees a year. To accommodate the expected growth, ASU has hired an extra 50 faculty members.

Possehl says that even with the potential surge of students, ASU will remain dedicated to their needs

“[T]he caliber of students is going to remain the same, our expectation for the enrollment and application process are going to stay the same, the only thing that changes is the accessibility,” Possehl said.

“I think that you’re going to see a snowball effect from other corporations from here on out. As Starbucks is now the first innovator in this process, it’ll be interesting to see if other large major corporations as well as universities take on the same model,” Possehl said.

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