Starbucks, ASU team up for employee education program


June 15, 2014

Starbucks and Arizona State University have announced the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a powerful, first-of-its-kind program designed to unleash lifetime opportunity for thousands of eligible part-time and full-time U.S. partners (employees).

Starbucks chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz hosted the first Partner Family Forum in the U.S. in New York’s Times Center and joined ASU President Michael M. Crow and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to officially launch the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. This significant investment will create an opportunity for eligible partners to finish a bachelor’s degree with full tuition reimbursement for juniors and seniors, through a unique collaboration with ASU’s research-driven, top-ranked degree program, delivered online. Starbucks College Achievement Plan Download Full Image

Through this innovative collaboration, partners based in the United States working an average of 20 hours per week at any company-operated store (including Teavana®, La Boulange®, Evolution Fresh™ and Seattle’s Best Coffee® stores) may choose from more than 40 undergraduate degree programs taught by ASU’s award-winning faculty, such as electrical engineering, education, business and retail management. Partners admitted to ASU as a junior or senior will earn full tuition reimbursement for each semester of full-time coursework they complete toward a bachelor’s degree. Freshmen and sophomores will be eligible for a partial tuition scholarship and need-based financial aid for two years of full-time study. Partners will have no commitment to remain at the company past graduation.

“In the last few years, we have seen the fracturing of the American Dream,” said Schultz. “There’s no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind. The question for all of us is, should we accept that, or should we try and do something about it. Supporting our partners’ ambitions is the very best investment Starbucks can make. Everyone who works as hard as our partners do should have the opportunity to complete college, while balancing work, school and their personal lives.”

Starbucks' investment is designed to support the nearly 50 percent of college students in the United States today who fail to complete their degrees due to mounting debt, a tenuous work-life balance and a lack of support. The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is created specifically for the company’s partners, and aims to provide an excellent academic foundation along with the flexibility, financing and comprehensive support that working students need to complete their degree.

“ASU is pioneering a new university model focused on inclusivity and degree completion, and Starbucks is establishing a new precedent for the responsibility and role of a public company that leads through the lens of humanity and supports its partners’ life goals with access to education,” said Crow. “We are very pleased to collaborate with Starbucks, who has impressed us with its strong commitment to its employees by providing this unique opportunity for a first-class college education. ASU has the vision, programs and scale to deliver it to Starbucks employees in every part of the country.”

ASU is gaining national attention for its efforts to increase access to high-quality, rigorous education with a focus on inclusion and impact. ASU is ranked the second most innovative school in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and ranks fifth in the nation in producing the best-qualified graduates, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of campus recruiters. Additionally, ASU is among the top producers of students awarded Fulbright scholarships to study and teach abroad, now ranking third in the nation for research institutions, tied with Princeton and Rutgers, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Our investment in high-quality education will attract and retain passionate partners who will move our company and our economy forward,” Schultz said. “ASU’s commitment to provide any talented student from any family background and any income level with a top-notch education makes it the singular partner for Starbucks.”

“I was put here to play music, and my goal is to change someone’s life – at least one,” said Abraham Cervantes, who has been a Starbucks barista for two years. “I want to teach at a university, and for that, you need a college degree. For me, the opportunity to earn my degree means I have the chance to teach others and make a better life for myself and my mom, who raised me and my three siblings on her own.”

In addition to financial support, Starbucks and ASU have developed an innovative retention model to support the unique needs of working students. Partners will have a dedicated enrollment coach, financial aid counselor and academic adviser to support them through graduation. The program will also include adaptive learning services to help students progress at the right pace for them; networking and community-building opportunities; and additional resources to help students plan their educations.

“We applaud Starbucks' leadership and vision in the creation of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan,” said Lumina Foundation President and CEO Jamie Merisotis. “By so clearly investing in its talent, Starbucks is providing employees with the opportunity to complete college – an investment that will pay off for them as individuals, for the company and for the nation, for generations to come.”

“Those who’ve been clamoring for bold, new initiatives to reduce the barriers to quality higher education in America should applaud this announcement,” added Crow. “As others follow Starbucks' example, we will hear those barriers come crashing down, to the lasting benefit of all Americans.”

The alliance between Starbucks and ASU was inspired by participation in the Markle Economic Future Initiative, co-chaired by Schultz and Markle President Zoë Baird, with Crow as one of its members. The initiative is committed to expanding opportunities that help Americans succeed in the global digital economy and reignite faith that the American Dream is achievable.

“This pioneering collaboration between Starbucks and ASU is exactly the kind of innovative action this country needs to help Americans reach their dreams,” said Baird. “This is a breakthrough in using online learning, backed by the financial resources that make it possible to participate. America urgently needs leadership to help people successfully transition to today’s economic realities. Howard Schultz and Dr. Michael Crow understand the challenges we are facing as a nation. Their commitment to the Markle Initiative and to embracing a more hopeful vision of America’s economic future is a path I encourage all leaders to follow.”

Watch Schultz and Crow address hundreds of partners in New York, live at the first Partner Family Forum in the U.S. on Monday, June 16, at 7:45 a.m. PT by visiting starbucks.com/collegeplan. To watch a video, download photos and read interviews and stories with Schultz, Crow and partners, visit news.starbucks.com/collegeplan.

Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

480-965-9370

Starbucks and ASU partner in educating leaders for the world


June 15, 2014

In this Q&A, Starbucks and Arizona State University discuss their unprecedented education partnership.

What is this new program? Download Full Image

ASU is joining with Starbucks to offer an extraordinary new program, called the Starbucks College Acheivement Plan (CAP), to all of their full- and part-time partners of every brand, who are employed within the United States, the chance to finish a bachelor’s degree with full tuition coverage through ASU’s top-ranked degree program, delivered online.

Why is ASU partnering with Starbucks?

We both believe everyone deserves the opportunity to get a great education. Starbucks is establishing a new precedent for the responsibility and role of a public company that leads through the lens of humanity and supports its partners’ life goals with access to education. And we have a constant desire to find new ways to offer more people a quality higher education and the freedom to pursue their passions in any direction. With these shared values, this partnership was a natural for both of us.

Is ASU talking to other companies?

We have a constant desire to find new ways to offer qualified students the opportunity to receive a quality higher education, and will continue to seek out and evaluate partnerships with like-minded companies who are committed to the ongoing education of their employees. We will evaluate their mission and core values as a company, as well as the brand reputation and whether it will help elevate the prestige of the ASU brand. In addition, we seek to understand their commitment to their employees and how engaged their employees are with the company.

How many students can the infrastructure support, in terms of technology and offline support?

Our infrastructure is designed for scale, and can handle much higher demand than currently exists. We will proactively build out the infrastructure to meet any demand.

Are there going to be additional demands on the faculty to service these new students? 

No. ASU’s instructional models, tools and curriculum are designed for teaching and learning at scale. ASU is ensuring we have all the faculty and support staff to deliver the same quality programs that ASU already makes available on ASU Online.

Will there be new faculty hired to teach these new students?

New faculty will be hired as needed by each department to maintain an average faculty student ratio of 1:24.

Will there be special courses developed for the Starbucks partners?

Participating CAP students will be offered the same curricula as ASU online students, which is the same rigorous content taught on campus by the same top-ranked faculty.

Britt Lewis

Interim Communications Director, ASU Library