Starbucks offers free tuition fees to cash-strapped undergrads in the US

The coffee giant will now pay the entire cost of an online bachelor's degree at Arizona State University

Starbucks has said it will give US employees the chance to get a college degree for free, as the coffee company expands its education benefits programme.

Starbucks already offers its baristas two years of undergraduate tuition at Arizona State University, in the south west of the US. This will now be extended to four years, covering the entire cost of an online bachelor's degree.

The Seattle-based company, which also offers benefits including healthcare and stock options, launched the “Starbucks College Achievement Plan” with Arizona State University in June 2014. The programme was originally aimed at juniors and seniors completing their degrees.

Nearly 2,000 workers have enrolled on the programme since June, and Starbucks said it is committed to supporting at least 25,000 staff over the next 10 years.

"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," said Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive of Starbucks. "We're stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success."

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