Starbucks Pays for College

Starbucks has announced a new College Advancement Program to pay for partners' (employees') education (read the press release). The initiative is a revised version of one revealed last summer, which was limited to juniors and seniors. Already, the program includes about 2,000 participants. Now, the program will expand to freshmen and sophomores, and courses are offered through  Arizona State University's online program.

A LinkedIn article describes CEO Howard Schultz' interest in offering assistance:

"My mother drilled into me that ‘you are going to college,'" says Schultz, who grew up working-poor in the projects of Brooklyn's Canarsie neighborhood. "So there was no way I wasn't going to college in some way. Second, she instilled in all of us this level of self-esteem that our station in life was not going to define us. That's the promise of America and the American dream was and is real. And I believe that today. That's why I fight so hard for the things that I believe threaten it. That the American promise, the American dream has to be available to everybody."

Unlike some tuition assistance programs, Starbucks' doesn't require people to stay with the company after they receive their degree.

Discussion Starters:

  • The reaction has been almost entirely positive, unlike Starbucks' recent "Race Together" initiative. What's the difference here?
  • If you were to criticize the initiative, what would you suggest that Starbucks change?
  • Analyze the press release: content, organization, and so on.