Starbucks Now Offers Employees The Chance to Go to College for Free

Kristen Bousquet

For those of you who have already graduated college, grab a tissue and be prepared to start crying. For those of you about to go, you might want to get yourself a job at Starbucks first: The company has just announced plans to pay for employees to take online college courses.

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At a New York City event on Monday, the company’s CEO, Howard Schultz, took the stage in front of about 350 Starbucks workers and told the story about how he grew up in federally subsidized housing, according to ABC News, and this issue was personal to him since he was the first in his family to attend college. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan took the stage following Schultz and explained that since many blue-collar jobs that paid decently have suddenly disappeared, you really need an education to be successful today.

The popular coffee chain is collaborating with Arizona State University and will offer any employee who is a freshman or sophomore a serious discount on their education while students who are juniors or seniors will get all—yes all—their college tuition and fees reimbursed. Any of their 135,000 U.S. employees that work over 20 hours per week are eligible to receive this college course discount. The other cool thing about the program is that it’s also available to the company’s sister stores Teavana and Seattle’s Best.

Employees can choose from 40 different programs that ASU offers which includes everything from retail management to philosophy. By providing this program to students, the company hopes to keep it’s current talent, which in turn will save the coffee chain on hiring and training costs.

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Michael M. Crow, the President of ASU, stated at Monday’s event: “We are very pleased to collaborate with Starbucks, who has impressed us with its strong commitment to its employees by providing this unique opportunity for a first-class college education. ASU has the vision, programs and scale to deliver it to Starbucks employees in every part of the country.”

While this news is certainly fantastic, it’s not surprising that Starbucks is the company behind it, thanks to its other innovative advancements (offering its employees health insurance, teaming up with Duracell to roll out charging tables for customers.)

At any rate, we bet there will be many more people eager to work at the coffee chain.