The coffee chain announced Monday that it will expand its free college tuition plan, giving employees a full four years of paid tuition for an online degree from Arizona State University, according to USA Today. The company previously only allowed employees with junior and senior amounts of college credits to enroll in the program.
Starbucks and ASU collaborated on the tuition plan, which takes employees off the hook for about $60,000 for the four-year online degree program. "By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we provide them with a critical tool for a lifelong opportunity," Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement. "We're stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success."
As a part of the company's agreement with the university, ASU will provide about 42 percent of the tuition for eligible employees at Starbucks stores. Starbucks, meanwhile, takes care of the other 58 percent unless workers qualify for federal Pell grants or other financial aid that can cover some of that percentage.
Employees will have to pay any costs left over from those grants up front, but Starbucks will reimburse them at the end of each semester. To be eligible for the program, employees must work 20 hours a week or more.
So far, about 2,000 workers have enrolled in the program, which offers 49 undergraduate degree programs.