or aspiring students.
In response to the high cost of tuition now forcing many American students to give up their college plans, Starbucks will pay 100% of tuition costs for Junior and Senior level students and an unspecified percent of the costs for lower level students.
Please play the sound of screeching tires in your head. Brakes! Screeeech!
Here's the bad news.
The only courses Starbucks' will pay for are those delivered by Arizona State University Online.
Arizona State University? Online? Huh?
Turns out, that's not all bad news. ASU is a highly rated online school that delivers 40 different degrees. And Starbucks says you can choose any one of them to complete, no strings attached.
Gratis. Free. A free gift to students from your friend, Starbucks.
US News and World Report rates ASU as #9 for online Bachelor's Degree programs and #2 for Online Graduate Business Programs.
So much love to Starbucks' CEO, Howard Schultz. Now, if only other American corporations would offer tuition benefits.
But wait! They do! Tuition Assistance Programs are Everywhere!
According to the 2013 Employee Benefits Survey, by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 61% of organizations offer undergraduate tuition assistance benefits and 59% offer graduate tuition assistance. The average benefit caps out at $4,980 per year.
On average, only 8% of employees take advantage of tuition assistance programs with cost of tuition being the most cited reason for not using the program. In other words, $4,980 per year, buys you very little tuition and if you have to match the program, 50-50, (very common) employees are simply ignoring the benefit as unfeasible. When you are scrambling to pay the mortgage and put food on the table, shelling out $5,000 per year for anything, even if you want and need it, you soon cross it off the list of possibilities.
Arizona State University online degree programs average $500 per credit. If a jet-fueled Starbucks' barista wanted to finish a degree fast, the tuition bill could top out over $15,000 per year. And Starbucks has promised to pay that bill.
Starbucks, we salute you!
Currently, only $5,250 of educational assistance benefits can be exempted from withholding tax by an employer (do you see why most companies cap benefits at around $5,000?)
The future is now smarter, better and kinder thanks to my fave, Starbucks.