Starbucks to Provide Full College Scholarships for Employees


Starbucks will begin providing thousands of its employees with free online college educations. The coffee chain is partnering with Arizona State University (ASU), awarding scholarships to part-time and full-time student workers, without requiring them to remain at the company.

The unique program is open to the company’s some 135,000 US employees. The only conditions are that the employees are juniors or seniors in college, work at a Starbucks location at least 20 hours a week, and have the grades to gain admittance to ASU.

While only Baristas with at least two years of college credits can receive full-paid scholarships, employees with less credits will still be eligible for lesser scholarships, paying in full for certain credits using government and university aid.

Although Starbucks is a major corporation, this program is a well-done ploy to show that Starbucks is devoting some of its fortune to making a difference. It’s a refreshing move from a major business showing they have a philanthropic side too. While many other companies provide tuition reimbursement, Starbucks scholarships for employees are so far unparalleled in their generosity and inclusiveness.

“Starbucks is going where no other major corporation has gone,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive of the Lumina Foundation, an education group. “For many of these Starbucks employees, an online university education is the only reasonable way they’re going to get a bachelor’s degree.”

This sort of progressive treatment of low-wage service employees is nothing new from Starbucks, a company that has for decades provided health insurance and stock options for even part-time employees.