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ASU, Starbucks to offer full tuition coverage for all eligible employees

three people on stage talking to crowd at ASU+GSV Summit
April 06, 2015

Arizona State University and Starbucks announced April 6 that the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, first introduced in June 2014, will now offer 100 percent tuition coverage for every eligible U.S. Starbucks partner (employee).

Full tuition coverage was previously available to juniors and seniors, but now all eligible part-time or full-time partners can apply for and complete all four years of a bachelor’s degree through ASU’s top-ranked online degree program.

"Everyone deserves a chance at the American dream," said Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks. "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. 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."

As part of its commitment to redefine the role and responsibility of a public company, Starbucks developed this program in partnership with ASU to create additional pathways to opportunity for its workers.

Nearly 2,000 Starbucks partners have already enrolled in the program.

“The College Achievement Plan has been a powerful demonstration of what is possible when an enlightened and innovative corporation joins forces with a forward-thinking research university,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “This program is a clear expression of Starbucks’ commitment to its partners and ASU’s continuing mission to provide access to higher education to all qualified students.”

This significant expansion will offer a top-notch education to all full-time and part-time Starbucks partners, with the opportunity to choose from 49 undergraduate degree programs through ASU Online.

The company will invest up to $250 million or more to help at least 25,000 partners graduate by 2025.

United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan looks to this innovative model from Starbucks and ASU as an example for other industries and businesses.

“Howard Schultz and Arizona State University President Michael Crow continue to do incredible work together,” said Secretary Duncan. “Today’s announcement from Starbucks and ASU is another win for students. Partnerships like this one show how innovative strategies can expand access to college for thousands of students. I hope more institutions and companies will take their lead to collaborate on ways we can all do more to make higher education more attainable and affordable.”

There is a clear and demonstrated value of having a college degree, both the opportunity it affords and the measureable impact on earning potential throughout a lifetime.

The disparity between what U.S. college and high school graduates earn has more than doubled in the past 30 years. A typical bachelor's degree recipient can expect to earn 66 percent more (compared with a high school graduate) over a 40-year career.

College education is crucial to getting a middle-class job – Millennials with only a high school degree are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as those with a college degree.

ASU's online degree programs offer the highest quality and most flexibility, ensuring the best chances for success in achieving a degree. Each course is fully designed to make the most of online learning, and ASU’s highly engaged faculty are retrained for effective online teaching.

ASU is a leader in employing innovative educational technology to deliver tailored academic support. It also invests in the student support services that are critical to reducing drop-out rates, and is ranked first in student services by US News & World Report.

The diplomas ASU awards to online students are identical to their on-campus degrees, and their session-to-session student retention rates and graduation rates are extremely strong.

“I know that there is an entire company standing behind me saying ‘You can do this.’ And that is an incredible feeling,” said Markelle Cullom, who has been a partner at Starbucks for three years and is enrolled in ASU Online through the College Achievement Plan. “For me, working at Starbucks is the opportunity for a better future.”