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Starbucks to Sponsor Higher Education for Thousands of Employees

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Here’s one way to deal with that whole minimum wage controversy.

It was revealed in a press release Sunday that coffee giant Starbucks would be partnering with Arizona State University (ASU) to pay college tuition for full and part-time employees who work 20 hours a week or more. Officially named the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, the program will allow qualified employees of company-operated stores (as well as employees of other Starbucks-owned brands like Teavana and Seattle’s Best) to be reimbursed for part or all their education, without requiring them to stay with the company post-graduation.

Eligible employees (dubbed “partners” in the official press release) who are able to meet ASU’s admission requirements will not only benefit from over 40 online undergraduate courses, but also academic advising, flexible scheduling, and other forms of support. Students admitted as juniors or seniors will receive a full-ride, while students with fewer credits will be eligible for partial scholarship and need-based financial aid.

Says CEO Howard Schultz:

In the last few years, we have seen the fracturing of the American Dream. There’s no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind. The question for all of us is, should we accept that, or should we try and do something about it. Supporting our partners’ ambitions is the very best investment Starbucks can make. Everyone who works as hard as our partners do should have the opportunity to complete college, while balancing work, school and their personal lives.