Starbucks Corporation has extended its College Achievement Plan to offer to fund university tuition for more than 140,000 eligible US staff.
The coffee chain set up its College Achievement Plan, in association with Arizona State University (ASU), to offer Starbucks employees the chance work for a degree qualification, alongside working at one of the coffee shops.
The scheme was originally offered to senior and junior employees, but has now been extended to all eligible full and part-time staff.
To date, nearly 2,000 Starbucks employees have successfully enrolled in the programme. The organisation is now planning to invest an estimated $250m (approx £173m) to achieve its aim of 25,000 staff graduating by 2025.
The expanded benefit offers staff access to 49 fully funded online bachelor’s degree programmes through ASU, with no obligation to continue working for Starbucks after they graduate.
Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks, said: “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 employees access to four years of full tuition coverage, we will provide them a critical tool for lifelong opportunity.”
Michael Crow, president of ASU, said: “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.
“This programme is a clear expression of Starbucks commitment to its staff and ASU’s continuing mission to provide access to higher education to all qualified students.”