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Starbucks now pays for UK employees’ university degrees

The company will offer 100% of tuition fees for a BS or BA across 40-plus programs

starbucks scholars
April 02, 2019

Starbucks has announced the expansion of its education initiative, providing 100% tuition coverage for online university degree programs with Arizona State University to eligibleTo be eligible, applicants must be a Starbucks partner based in a company-operated store in the U.K., have completed three months of continuous employment with Starbucks at the point of submitting the application, not already hold a bachelor’s degree and not be already participating in any other full-time education or training programs (e.g. apprenticeship or other degree-level qualifications). employee partners in the United Kingdom. 

The new Starbucks Degree Achievement Plan (SDAP) is part of the company’s ongoing support of creating opportunities for its partners and marks the first time the company-led education program has been offered outside the United States.  

“Starbucks has always been a company that puts our people first," said Martin Brok, president of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa. "And if we can remove the financial burden of the cost of a university degree while helping our partners gain skills that will set them up for future success — we can’t think of a better investment." 

Starbucks and ASU launched their partnership in the U.S. in 2014 as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to playing a key role in creating opportunities for partners and setting them up for successful careers. More than 18,000 partners have enrolled in the U.S. program since its launch, and the company has seen more than 2,400 graduates to date.

Due to the success of the program in the U.S., Starbucks in the U.K. is extending this educational opportunity to its partners, having worked closely with them to identify what benefits matter most to them. Many expressed how difficult the financial strains can be to obtain a university degree — currently, tuition fees for those studying in England can be up to £9,250 (about $12,000) a year. This offering reflects Starbucks' ongoing commitment to creating opportunities for its partners, which results in deeper connection to the brand, customer connections and retention within the organization.

With courses developed and taught by the same acclaimed ASU faculty who teach on campus, eligible U.K. partners can earn a bachelor’s degree in their chosen personal interest subject — with 100% of the tuition fees paid for by Starbucks. Courses will be delivered through an online portal to allow partners the flexibility of learning in their own time, and the degree is a fully recognized qualification in the U.K.

Unique to this program, partners will have more than 40 different degree programs to choose from, including Bachelor of Science degrees and Bachelor of Arts degrees. Applications opened Tuesday, April 2, with the first courses beginning in October. 

The program will be available to 100 partners at launch to allow Starbucks to establish demand, with the ambition to adapt and scale based on partner feedback.

“For those who have ever considered earning their degree and haven’t had the opportunity or those who’ve had to put their studies on hold, the Starbucks Degree Achievement Program could be the chance they’ve been waiting for to earn their degree — with Starbucks here to pick up the bill,” said Brok.

In addition to the financial support, students who are admitted under the plan will also have a dedicated enrollment coach and academic adviser to support them through graduation.

“Nearly five years ago, Arizona State University and Starbucks began a partnership, offering 100% tuition coverage for U.S. partners through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, with the shared vision of providing a quality education to all eligible Starbucks partners who seek their first bachelor’s degree," said ASU President Michael M. Crow. "Today, we are extending this successful endeavor to the U.K., with the Starbucks Degree Achievement Plan. ASU’s ability to scale through innovation and technology allows us to reach learners across the globe, in the effort to provide an education to all who desire to learn. We are delighted to partner once again with Starbucks in this important step forward with the global expansion of our partnership.” 

Starbucks already offers intermediate (level 2), advanced (level 3) and higher and degree-level apprenticeships (levels 4-6) and has supported more than 1,500 apprentices. 

Top photo: Susana Monica (right) and Kelsey Laubie stand to be recognized as Starbucks scholars during the College of Health Solutions Convocation at Wells Fargo Arena on May 12, 2017. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASUNow

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