Starbucks Expands College Tuition Program

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What do the military and the country’s biggest coffeehouse have in common?

The possibility of a free ride to college for people who work for them. Except Starbucks won’t require eligible employees to remain with the company after graduation.

The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is being expanded to include more than 140,000 full-time and part-time U.S. workers, the coffee company announced Monday.

Starbucks employed about 141,000 people in the U.S. as of September 2014, according to the company’s latest annual report.

The program is also open to eligible employees of Starbucks-owned companies in the U.S. like tea company Teavana, juice and smoothie company Evolution Fresh, and bakery La Boulange.

When Starbucks first introduced the tuition program in June 2014, however, only college juniors and seniors were eligible for full tuition coverage.

Almost 2,000 employees have since enrolled in the program, but Starbucks plans to invest up to at least $250 million to help at least 25,000 workers graduate by 2025, according to a press release. Currently, workers can choose from 49 undergraduate online degree programs offered by Arizona State University.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks chief executive and chairman, also told Reuters that he would be open to expanding the program to include master’s degrees in the future.

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