Starbucks announced on Monday that they will now offer their employees the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree for free with Arizona State University’s online program.
Last year, Starbucks offered baristas only two years of undergraduate tuition at ASU, but the new program now extends that to four years for most Starbucks workers.
All full and part-time U.S. employees who don’t already have a four-year degree are eligible. Unfortunately, workers at “licensed stores,” like those located in grocery stores, are not eligible.
Employees who qualify automatically receive a scholarship to ASU for 42% of the tuition for each credit of the coursework they enroll in — Starbucks pays the remaining 58% in a reimbursement at the end of each semester. The only catch, if there is one, is that employees can’t drop out or quit their jobs while taking courses. However, they are totally free to move on to bigger and better things once they successfully complete their degree.
According to CNN Money, more than 140,000 of Starbuck’s 191,000 employees are eligible. Starbucks says the programs are designed to help employees, 70% of which do not have college degrees. Over the next decade, the company hopes to spend at least $250 million in free education and help 25,000 employees graduate.
ASU’s online program, which normally costs $15,000 per year, offers 49 bachelor’s degree programs.
Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz explained:
“By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition reimbursement, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity.”
Shultz has been very outspoken on several controversial social issues recently. In his last shareholder’s meeting, he stood firm with Starbucks’ continued support for marriage equality when one investor complained of falling stock prices. Shultz also took responsibility for Starbucks’ recent and controversial attempt to spur conversations on race relations with their hashtag “race together.” He’s supported an increase to workers’ wages and to top it all off, he’s now offering his employees free bachelor’s degrees.
Howard Shultz has officially made the list of “Good Guy Bosses.”