Starbucks offers employees free college ride

Starbucks offers employees free college ride

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Jun 16, 2014

Here is a perk you probably wouldn't expect from a company in the service industry.

Starbucks is now offering its workers a paid ride for the last two years of college, no strings attached. It is an offer that is unmatched by any other large company.

The coffee giant has signed a deal with Arizona State University. If an employee enrolls in the school's online program as a junior or senior, Starbucks will reimburse them for the last two years of their education.

If an employee enrolls as a freshman or sophmore, that person will be eligible for a partial scholarship and need-based financial aid.

The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is for any employee who works at least 20 hours a week. Starbucks says that is the majority of its 135,000 employees in the United States.

Starbucks isn't saying how much the program will cost them, according to the Seattle Times. However, ASU's website says tuition for its undergraduate online programs ranges from $480 to $543 per credit hour. Full-time students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours in a semester.

It's not that unusual for a company to offer an tuition reimbursement program, but those programs usually come with limitations, including requiring an employee to stay with the company for a number of years. There are no such restrictions for Starbucks employees.

The new program is just the latest example of how Starbucks is different from most companies in the service industry. The company also offers all of its employees health insurance, retirement benefits, restricted company stock and a matching 401(k) program.

In addition, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has stood apart from his peers by supporting raising the minimum wage.

Last but not least, store employees get a free pound of coffee each week and free beverages on work breaks.

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani, who is based in Las Vegas at KTNV-TV Channel 13, is a contributor to