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Starbucks to offer free tuition to employees

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Starbucks, the Seattle- based company famous for lattes and frappuccinos, announced it will offer free college tuition to employees through Arizona State University’s online program starting in the fall of 2014, according to a USA Today article published June 16, 2014.

This new incentive will help Starbuck’s 135,000 employees earn a college degree with no obligation whatsoever to the company. They are not obligated to stay with Starbucks after the degree is earned and are under no pressure with the exception of getting accepted into the program and remaining in good standing academically. Employees also need to work at least 20 hours per week at Starbucks to qualify and the Starbucks location has to be company- owned.

Starbucks partnered with Arizona State University to create this tuition plan and it is one of the few restaurant/service businesses to offer anything like this. The plan is aimed mainly at those who are nearing completion of a degree as it pays 100 percent of the tuition for those with two years of college credit and partial tuition for those in their freshman or sophomore years. This is welcome news to parents everywhere who are struggling with high tuition bills and have run out of resources.

Starbucks says it will even provide an enrollment coach, academic advisor, and financial aid counselor to student employees. It all sounds too good to be true, but Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says it’s an obligation that all businesses should try to meet.

“We can’t be a bystander, and we can’t wait for Washington,” said Schultz. “I strongly believe businesses and business leaders must do more for their people and more for the communities we serve.”

Schultz is also concerned about the growing economic inequality among Americans and he feels it’s important that business leaders take immediate action to reverse these trends.

"There's no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind”, added Schultz. ”The question for all of us is, should we accept that, or should we try and do something about it."

Arizona State University’s online program is one of the largest in the nation and also one of the most respected. The Tempe Arizona- based educational institution offers 33 undergraduate programs and 30 graduate programs through its online enrollment. There are presently about 10,000 students working toward an ASU online degree, but this number is certain to increase once the Starbucks employee enrollment begins.

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