NEW YORK (April 7, 2015) — Starbucks announced Monday that the company will now pay four years of college tuition for all of its employees.
Starbucks said its workers can have tuition covered for an online college degree from Arizona State University, marking the latest sign that companies are rethinking their treatment of low-wage workers.
This means that Starbucks baristas and other employees could pay nothing out of pocket for a bachelor’s degree at the online school.
Last year, the company announced a deal that gave employees discounted tuition at ASU Online for the first two years of their degree. Then, the company would reimburse them for their junior and senior years. Now, Starbucks will reimburse employees for all four years with absolutely no commitment to stay working at Starbucks after they get their degree.
The Seattle-based coffee chain says the decision is part of its commitment to “redefine the role and responsibility of a public company.”
This program comes at a time when employers are increasingly seeking to win favor with customers by cultivating their images for being socially responsible. Last week, McDonald’s also announced it was expanding a college tuition assistance program to workers. At its company-owned stores, McDonald’s said workers would also get a pay bump and be able to earn paid time off as well.
Wal-Mart Stores and Gap Inc. are among the other major employers that have announced wage hikes recently.