Serving coffee comes with a new advantage | Starbucks to pay for...

Serving coffee comes with a new advantage | Starbucks to pay for employees to complete college!

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How would you like to be paid to complete college? I’m sure you would! There are quite a few companies that pay for your college tuition fees, at least in the USA that includes Deloitte, UPS, JP Morgan Chase and Lockheed Martin Amongst others.  A recent addition to this list of companies that value employee satisfaction along with customer satisfaction is Starbucks.

The coffee retail giant, which recently opened in India, has announced the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), a program which will enables Starbucks employees(of which there are more than 100,000 in the US)  to receive part tuition reimbursement for Freshman and Sophomores on a need basis and receive a full tuition reimbursement for Junior and Senior students in any online program of the Arizona State University, considered one of the best programs for online study in the country, which has, since its inception in 2010, has risen to 40 online programs currently catering to some 11,500 students.

“I feel so strongly this is the right thing to do and Starbucks as a company is going to benefit in ways that probably we can not identify today,” Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks told CNN.

 However, the incentive comes with a catch, or at least thats’ what MSNBC.com and thinkprogress.org pieces come to thing. The SCAP replaces an older program which gave lesser reimbursement, but was more flexible in terms of which program the students attended.  Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is of the opinion that this effectively sets up a monopoly of Starbucks and ASU online over the employees of Starbucks.

 The fine print of the program indicates that to be eligible for the program a partner needs to earn at least 21 credits for each of the four years of the program, which requires a total of 120 credits to graduate.  Since each credit requires some 18 hours per week for each credit over a five week period, it may require a lot of time for an employee to be repaid the tuition, while also being required to work 30 hours a week at Starbucks.

 Despite its pitfalls, the SCAP may indeed turn out to be a keeper for Starbucks, which in its press release for the program, indicated its commitment to giving back to the various communities served by its outlets.  It remains to be  seen if the employees of the coffee giant are happy with SCAP in the long run or not, but the effort seems genuine enough.  Another shot at college for Starbucks employees or a shot towards good PR? Time will only tell.

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