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Starbucks Expands College Tuition Program; To Invest $250M - Analyst Blog

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Seattle-based Starbucks CorporationSBUX committed to invest at least $250 million to offer full tuition coverage to all eligible U.S. employees under its online college education program in collaboration with Arizona State University (ASU).

Under the "Starbucks College Achievement Plan", launched in June last year, eligible Starbucks employees can earn an online bachelor's degree from ASU with full tuition reimbursement for all the four years. At present, employees are eligible to earn full tuition reimbursement only for the last two years of an ASU online bachelor's degree.

Previously, workers enrolled at the university as juniors or seniors were eligible for full tuition reimbursement, while freshmen and sophomores could avail only partial tuition scholarship. However, per the expanded program, all eligible part-time or full-time employees can apply for tuition coverage for all the four years.

Starbucks will reimburse tuition costs at the end of each semester, much faster than after completing 21 credits as is the current norm.

Starbucks claims more than 140,000 part-time and full-time employees in the U.S. currently qualify for the program and nearly 2,000 of them have already enrolled. Starbucks has committed to help at least 25,000 workers graduate by 2025.

The program is open for all Starbucks workers - part-time and full-time - clocking an average of 20 hours per week at any of the company-operated stores, including Teavana, La Boulange, Evolution Fresh and Seattle's Best Coffee stores.

Starbucks employees can choose from 49 undergraduate degree programs offered by ASU online ranging from retail management to electrical engineering without any obligation to continue working at Starbucks after graduating.

Retailers and restaurants are under pressure to improve pay and benefits for employees in an improving labor market as dropping unemployment rates and availability of jobs are giving workers more employment choices.

Last week, burger giant McDonald's Corp. MCD , announced improved benefits for employees at its company-owned restaurants, including a wage increase along with paid time-off for full and part-time employees, effective from July. The company also announced expansion of its Archways to Opportunities by offering financial assistance to eligible McDonald's U.S. employees to help them complete high school and college.

In February, the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT said that it will raise entry level wages to at least $9 an hour this month and roughly $10 by Feb 2016.

Stocks to Consider

Starbucks carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked restaurateur is Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. PLAY sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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WAL-MART STORES (WMT): Free Stock Analysis Report

STARBUCKS CORP (SBUX): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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