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Starbucks Sweetens The Coffee Pot For Baristas

Making a billion Vente Mocha Lattes for an endless string of exasperated girls on iPhones is a thankless job. But Starbucks is adding an incentive for their baristas: They’ll pay for college. On Monday, Starbucks announced a historic partnership with Arizona State University in which the company will support employees enrolled in online courses.

“We as a company want to do something that has not been done before,” explaines Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz. “We want to create access to the American Dream, hope and opportunity for everybody.”

So any benefits-eligible employee in the U.S. (that is, who works at least 20 hours per week at any Starbucks location or Starbucks-owned company) can apply and, grades permitted, will be accepted. These employees “will have no commitment to remain at Starbucks past graduation.” Partners admitted as a junior or senior, according to ASU’s admission requirements, will earn full tuition reimbursement for each year of coursework they complete toward a bachelor’s degree. Freshmen and sophomores will be eligible for a partial tuition scholarship and need-based  financial aid for two years of full-time study.

An enrollment coach, financial aid counselor and academic advisor will also be provided for those employees who chose the road to education.

“Without a college education, I wouldn’t be here today,” Schultz explained. “I truly believe education is the way to opportunities and a better life. This is going to give our partners hope, opportunity and the freedom to believe in themselves and their careers for the long term.”

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