ASU, Starbucks to offer full tuition coverage for all eligible employees

April 6, 2015

Arizona State University and Starbucks announced April 6 that the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, first introduced in June 2014, will now offer 100 percent tuition coverage for every eligible U.S. Starbucks partner (employee).

Full tuition coverage was previously available to juniors and seniors, but now all eligible part-time or full-time partners can apply for and complete all four years of a bachelor’s degree through ASU’s top-ranked online degree program. three people on stage talking to crowd at ASU+GSV Summit Download Full Image

"Everyone deserves a chance at the American dream," said Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks. "The unfortunate reality is that too many Americans can no longer afford a college degree, particularly disadvantaged young people, and others are saddled with burdensome education debt. By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity. We're stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success."

As part of its commitment to redefine the role and responsibility of a public company, Starbucks developed this program in partnership with ASU to create additional pathways to opportunity for its workers.

Nearly 2,000 Starbucks partners have already enrolled in the program.

“The College Achievement Plan has been a powerful demonstration of what is possible when an enlightened and innovative corporation joins forces with a forward-thinking research university,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “This program is a clear expression of Starbucks’ commitment to its partners and ASU’s continuing mission to provide access to higher education to all qualified students.”

This significant expansion will offer a top-notch education to all full-time and part-time Starbucks partners, with the opportunity to choose from 49 undergraduate degree programs through ASU Online.

The company will invest up to $250 million or more to help at least 25,000 partners graduate by 2025.

United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan looks to this innovative model from Starbucks and ASU as an example for other industries and businesses.

“Howard Schultz and Arizona State University President Michael Crow continue to do incredible work together,” said Secretary Duncan. “Today’s announcement from Starbucks and ASU is another win for students. Partnerships like this one show how innovative strategies can expand access to college for thousands of students. I hope more institutions and companies will take their lead to collaborate on ways we can all do more to make higher education more attainable and affordable.”

There is a clear and demonstrated value of having a college degree, both the opportunity it affords and the measureable impact on earning potential throughout a lifetime.

The disparity between what U.S. college and high school graduates earn has more than doubled in the past 30 years. A typical bachelor's degree recipient can expect to earn 66 percent more (compared with a high school graduate) over a 40-year career.

College education is crucial to getting a middle-class job – Millennials with only a high school degree are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as those with a college degree.

ASU's online degree programs offer the highest quality and most flexibility, ensuring the best chances for success in achieving a degree. Each course is fully designed to make the most of online learning, and ASU’s highly engaged faculty are retrained for effective online teaching.

ASU is a leader in employing innovative educational technology to deliver tailored academic support. It also invests in the student support services that are critical to reducing drop-out rates, and is ranked first in student services by US News & World Report.

The diplomas ASU awards to online students are identical to their on-campus degrees, and their session-to-session student retention rates and graduation rates are extremely strong.

“I know that there is an entire company standing behind me saying ‘You can do this.’ And that is an incredible feeling,” said Markelle Cullom, who has been a partner at Starbucks for three years and is enrolled in ASU Online through the College Achievement Plan. “For me, working at Starbucks is the opportunity for a better future.”

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

Activity stations blend discovery, imagination at Leonardo exhibit

April 7, 2015

Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination has designed a number of activity stations that are integrated into Phoenix Art Museum's "Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester and the Power of Observation" exhibit.

The stations encourage visitors to engage in critical and creative thinking and making, and the activities are designed to provide hands-on experiences for visitors to explore a key theme of the exhibit: thinking on paper. The exhibit is on view at the museum through April 12. Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum Download Full Image

“This collaboration with CSI (Center for Science and the Imagination) provides a nice opportunity for visitors to practice what they learn in the exhibition about the intersection of curiosity, observation and thinking through ideas. Including interactive elements like these in the gallery context can reinforce concepts in the moment,” said Kathryn Blake, The Gerry Grout Education director at the Phoenix Art Museum.

The three interactive stations blend scientific discovery with creative expression:

Codex Word Play provides an opportunity to explore the Codex Leicester and Leonardo’s ideas about water through a mad libs-style exercise, and presents an analog complement to a digital interactive for translating the Codex.

Codex Middle Word challenges visitors to synthesize ideas by imagining words that illuminate connections between them. This activity is an attempt to give visitors a sense of Leonardo's unique, non-linear style of reasoning.

Create Your Own Codex prompts visitors to create a codex featuring their own observations about the natural world around them. This station encourages visitors to see the world through Leonardo’s endlessly curious eyes.

The activities were designed by Max Evjen, a specialist in the field of informal science education, in collaboration with Blake and Nina Miller, design strategist at the Center for Science and the Imagination.

“We designed these activity stations to provide fun, reflective, kinesthetic learning experiences that encourage visitors to explore the modes of thought that Leonardo employed to create the Codex Leicester,” said Evjen. “We think everyone will enjoy these opportunities to think like Leonardo.”

“In designing these activities, I wanted to build in elements of physical interaction with the ideas. Leonardo was a tinkerer and maker, as well as a philosopher and scientist,” said Miller. “My goal in the design was to help people to think in a non-linear way, inspired by Leonardo’s unique cognitive style.”

Evjen and researchers from ASU's Center for Science and the Imaginiation are working together to conduct research on how the activities affect people's experiences in the exhibition, including how they learn about art and science and understand Leonardo’s unique approach to scientific curiosity, observation and cognition. The research will also evaluate what elements of the exhibition visitors find most engaging, and analyze people's creative work at the activity stations to explore new ideas and connections that the exhibition helped to bring about.

Admission to the exhibition is included in general admission to Phoenix Art Museum. For more information visit

Joey Eschrich

program manager, Center for Science and the Imagination