Starbucks Offers Workers 2 Years of Free College


Starbucks baristas working through college are about to get an extra boost from their employer.

The company announced it will offer both full- and part-time employees a generous tuition reimbursement benefit that covers two full years of classes.

The benefit is through a partnership with Arizona State University’s online studies program. Employees can choose any of more than 40 undergraduate degrees, and aren’t limited to only business classes…


I would like to see the details because even Howard doesn’t give away $30k just for nothing. But nonetheless, if I were a younger person it would be worth checking into.


Just to clarify, the employee has to pay for the first two years, though they get a substantial discount. Once they make it past two years, Starbucks picks up the whole tab.

The classes must be taken online and can only be taken though Arizona State University.

Don’t submit that application to Harvard just yet. :smiley:


My employer pays 100% for books and tuition for 1 class per semester for those working on a degree program in a field directly related to the company’s business interests. Only requirement is that one has to be a regular, full-time employee with at least 1 year of continuous service.

In fact, every single employer I’ve ever had since college has had a similar program (though some limited it only to the first degree, so if you already had one you weren’t eligible).

So my reaction is: meh.


Kind of a useless benefit tbh unless you’re super committed to the company. It’s sort of like hospitals that promise nurses x amount of money to complete a higher degree but usually with a contract that binds the nurse to the hospital for like 3-5 years. Maybe worth it, but only for a very select group of people who are confident in their hospital and who like the work environment.


But that’s exactly the point. That’s why companies do this. And I suspect Starbucks is doing it for the same reason. I highly doubt Starbucks is just doing it out of the kindness of their corporate heart. If they did, why not just give scholarships instead?


Its appears to be a good deal for both employer and employee.

That said, a younger person who is motivated but can not afford college might find an equally good deal with University of the People (UoPeople) a non-profit, tuition- free, accredited online university dedicated to higher education for all individuals otherwise constrained.


I totally disagree. From the perspective of someone who couldn’t otherwise afford tuition to attend college this would seem like a great deal. Especially considering that those who go to college via ROTC must commit to additional years of service after college.



The best way to a good four-year college is go to a Community College first. If you do well, the two-year college, you can get preferential treatment at the four-year college. It’s a back door. It’s what I did, and I ended up with a PhD from UCLA.

LOVE! :heart:


I agree. As one of my high school teachers said, the degree you get from going to Notre Dame for two years is exactly the same as going to Notre Dame for four years. The only caveat is that you have to choose your courses wisely, since community colleges are notorious for mission creep and sometimes offer junior and senior level courses that don’t count as such at the four year school.


There is a great deal of scope in quality regarding “online education”. Hopefully, these kids actually would be getting something worthwhile.

Still good for Starbucks- every little bit works towards showing that a business actually cares for the cogs in their machines.


I’d give Starbucks credit for a good sounding attempt to help their employees, but since they have publicly stated they do not want the business of people who support traditional marriage, I suppose they can go rot as a business as far as I am concerned.

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I doubt it is done solely out the kindness of their corporate hearts. There is a reason companies do this–and lots of companies do this. I think Starbucks knows it will get something in return for this, and are planning on it.

What Starbucks is doing isn’t unique. It isn’t even new. 20 years ago when I left college and went to work my very first employer reimbursed me for tuition and books as I worked on my master’s degree part time.

So, like I said, my reaction is: meh. Been there. Done that. It’s nothing new.


Obvious why they do it; employee retention.

But good for them; at least they do it. I’ve never been fortunate enough to work somewhere where I got tuition reimbursement, and I think it’s pretty unusual for hourly-wage employees.


Indeed it is. I got a second Masters paid for by Raytheon a few years back, and only owed them a year post graduation. These benefits are quite common for salaried businesses, but less so for hourly positions.

I won’t deride Starbucks for the program, but will say it doesn’t begin to make up for their other more aggregious problems. I just as soon see them go out of business, assuming their hard working employees found other employment.



I agree with Suudy. Meh.


Now for the rest of the story. Starbucks is not paying college tuition for anyone according to CBS.

What they are doing is to reimburse under certain circumstances college tuition only for those who pay their own way and then graduate. And only for one “online University”.

Of what use is a degree from an 'online University"? Does it really help the degree holder? I have no idea.


Sure it does.

If the school is accredited, it carries weight. By and large, unless you attend an Ivy League school, or a preeminent school in your field (Eastman or Julliard for Music, Illinois or MIT for eingineering), the school matters little, as long as it is accredited.

I got my MBA from MD online while I was in the USAF, and my MS in Electrical Engineering in residence at Johns Hopkins later. Looking at my resume, you can’t tell that one was online. It matters not.


The community college I went to actually partnered with all the colleges in my state so if you wanted to transfer to a particular university you actually had an adviser who knew what classes the particular university you wanted to go to would accept so you could make sure you weren’t taking classes that weren’t accepted. It also had “transfer degrees” for each specific university that were associate’s degrees so when you transferred you only had two years left at your transfer university to get a bachelor’s degree.

The former governor of my state also tried to implement a program where all residents of the state could go to a community college and get a two-year degree for “free” but that program fell apart.


Starbucks has specifically said that they hope this program will reduce turnover. That’s the main reason they are doing this. Think about it, this will guarantee that they will have an employee for at least four years. That reduces training time and turnover and leads to better trained, more competent employees which should, theoretically, save Starbucks a lot of money. Plus, it looks good on the PR side of things.

But, like you said, this is nothing new. A lot of companies did this and still do this. Every company I have worked for has had some kind of tuition reimbursement program.

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