More than 1,800 Starbucks employees have signed up to participate in the chain’s college-education assistance plan since Starbucks announced last month that it was expanding the plan’s benefit.
The volume of applications received since the April announcement nearly equals the number of employees who had enrolled in the program since it was first introduced in June 2014.
Through its expanded College Achievement Plan, Starbucks offers 100 percent tuition reimbursement to employees for four years of an undergraduate program, an investment that is expected to reach $250 million by 2025. Benefits-eligible Starbucks employees working part- or full-time can choose from 50 programs through Arizona State University Online and are not required to stay with the coffee company after graduation to receive reimbursement.
This plan bolsters Starbucks’ commitment to hire 10,000 “Opportunity Youth” over the next three years. Starbucks believes the “Opportunity Youth” segment, made up of 16- to 24-year-olds who are not working or in school, contains a great deal of untapped talent for American businesses and aims to foster these young people’s skills through education.
"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,” Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement. “By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity.”
To date, more than 2,200 Starbucks employees have enrolled in the plan, and 200 are expected to graduate through the program this year.