Starbucks employees nationwide will be eligible for tuition-free education through Arizona State University’s online program in the fall.
As many as 135,000 employees will be able to graduate debt-free with no requirement to stay on with Starbucks or repay tuition to ASU.
The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is part of an agreement between ASU President Michael Crow, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, according to AZ Central.
Any employee who works at least 20 hours a week will receive full tuition reimbursement if they enroll as juniors and seniors. Others will be eligible for scholarships worth an average of $6,500.
"Starbucks decided human capital is one of the most important things they can invest in," Crow said. "Everybody is concerned about what are the ways to get through college."
ASU has one of the largest online programs, with 6,700 student enrolled this spring. Tuition is normally about $10,000 a year, the Huffington Post reports.
Wisconsin Starbucks employee Zee Lemke, 31, says the program may be useful to some, but prospective employers often feel that in-class experience counts the most.
Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of EdVisors.com, said it is a win-win measure for Starbucks, who gets to attract a better pool of workers while educating those already on staff.
"It's a way to expand revenue," Kantrowitz said.