What would you do if your employer told you that you could finish college on them? Sounds like a dream! However, for just over 100,000 Starbucks employees that dream is a reality. The colossal coffee chain’s CEO, Howard Schultz, explains why this is a great move to the New York Times saying, “I believe it will lower attrition, it’ll increase performance, it’ll attract and retain better people.” Starbucks has worked out an online program with Arizona State University, to help employees complete their undergraduate degrees. The prospective employees to benefit from this tuition-reimbursement plan are broken into two groups: those who have enough college credits to qualify as a junior or senior; and those who are considered a freshman or sophomore. The former group will be eligible for full reimbursement by Starbucks and the latter will be eligible for partial reimbursement.
Some working students may hit a snag in their education because of unforeseen occurrences, or just because college has become increasingly expensive. At one time, I was a working student, myself. I worked about 20-25 hours per week, while maintaining a full class load of 16-18 credits per quarter. Balancing work and classes can be a daunting task, especially when bills may be piling up. And something I encountered while working and attending school was lack of empathy from an employer. Starbucks is not only showing it cares about its employees’ education but it is also investing in it. Have you been waiting for a ‘catch?’ Well, there isn’t one. Unlike many employers, who send staff to school and require they remain with the company for X amount of years upon completion, Starbucks does not place such conditions on tuition assistance. With the economy in the position it is, having your employer behind you is a huge help. I’m certain Starbucks will receive a big return in terms of employee quality and retention.