On Monday, Starbucks announced it will extend its college tuition plan to four years.
In association with Arizona State University, full-time and part-time employees can enroll themselves in a four-year bachelor’s degree through the university’s online degree program. To streamline the program, Starbucks will be investing $250 million that will help 25,000 employees to graduate in the next ten years.
The average tuition fee at ASU Online for a four-year program is $60,000.
According to Forbes, Howard Schultz, founder and CEO of Starbucks, said, “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 [employees] 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.”
The BLS reports that the median of what bachelor’s degree holders earned per week in 2014 was $1,101, while reflecting a 3.5% unemployment rate. The statistics for high school diploma holders, however, was $668 and 6%, respectively.
The move comes as a positive change for Starbucks’ public relations, especially after its Seattle chain was subjected to criticism on social media for its Race Together program, where baristas wrote “Race Together” on cups of customers. Though planned as an initiative to support and encourage talks about racial divide in America, the program was regarded as naive.
According to USA Today, Peter Madden, CEO of AgileCat, a brand consultancy, said, “Compared to the Race Together idea, which was as half-baked as it gets, this idea is a home run on several levels.
“It’s a big bounce back for Starbucks.”
The program offers 49 degree programs and almost 2,000 Starbucks employees have sought enrollment.
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