Starbucks orders up grande serving of tuition assistance - CBS46 News

Starbucks orders up grande serving of tuition assistance for employees

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Being a barista just got a little bit better, at least if you're employed by Starbucks.

The international company with more than 280,000 employees at nearly 21,000 locations in 61 countries is paying for college for any employee that qualifies.

The catch is, employees have to get an online degree from Arizona State University. With 40 online degree programs, baristas will have a wide variety to choose from.

Starbucks will pay for a portion of their employee's tuition during their freshman and sophomore years, leaving the remainder up to the employee to cover with grants and other governmental assistance.

Once the student reaches their junior year, they really start to reap the benefits. According to the plan, Starbucks picks up 100 percent of the tuition tab for juniors and seniors.

This is not the first time a company has foot the bill for an employee's education, though it may be the first time on such a grand scale.

If just one employee from half of the company's locations participated, it would generate 10,000 new students for Arizona State.

Other institutions of higher learning also offer similar programs. The Georgia Institute of Technology partners with several employers in their online degree program, and have been for years.

The big difference between the two; most of Georgia Tech's nine online degree programs are post-graduate degrees as opposed to the bachelor's degrees Arizona State is offering.

Still, Dean of Professional Education at Georgia Tech Nelson Baker is excited about the future.

"I think the next couple years will be very interesting," said Baker. "Technology is certainly changing the face of higher education and how we can reach students."

Baker also said the focus needs to be on learning and not the technology delivering it.

"Technology has its place but if we as individuals don't learn along the way, we missed the mark," said Baker.

That much is in the employee's hands. Meanwhile Howard Schultz, who is the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks, says the company is trying to get America's attention.

"We can't build a great company and we can't build a great enduring country if we are constantly leaving people behind," said Schultz.

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