Importance of the Starbucks college achievement plan

By Ritu Tiwari on July 17, 2014

Starbucks is a popular coffee brand. It offers variety of Arabica coffee by roasting it to excellent quality (Starbucks n.d.). In 1981, Howard Schultz, CEO of of this coffee chain realized after a trip to Italy to build an environment of large number of variety of coffee and host it in the market. With minimum advertisements the coffee chain achieved brand recognition and higher demand from customers. In their mission statement they say “Our missionary work to instigate and sustain the human spirit – one soul, one cup and one neighborhood at a time” (Starbucks n.d.). Starbucks believes to pursue the dreams of American students to complete their graduation degree. Now it is planning to provide full fee reimbursement to their employees by introducing “The Starbucks College Achievement Plan”. The coffee chain announced this plan in collaboration with Arizona State University on June 15, 2014. It believes to pursue the dreams of American students to complete their graduation degree (Starbucks 2014b). This program will make an opportunity for its employees to finish their bachelors degree.

Educational scenario and student loan debt in US

Educational scenario is very poor in US. Skyrocketing fees and increasing debt makes education inaccessible for many students in US when the country needs more educated and qualified employees (Ezekiel & Zeiger 2013). According to the report of Healey C. Whitsett, approx 37 million people have high debt, where 60% are students between the ages of 18 to 39 in US (Whitsett 2012). The level of student loan debt is continuously rising in colleges (Cochrane 2013). According to the report, in 2008 the percentage of loan debt was 68 which increased to 71% in 2012.

Share of student loan debtors in the United States by debt amount (Source: Adapted from “Grading Student Loans,” FRBNY)
Share of student loan debtors in the United States by debt amount (Source: Adapted from “Grading Student Loans,” FRBNY)

College investment is very beneficial for students as it will help them get better employment and wages later. Students who can achieve higher degree become efficient in paying back the loan, however those who are less educated usually get low pay and have problem in paying back their loan (Ezekiel & Zeiger 2013). Therefore, Starbucks introduced “Starbucks college achievement plan” for those students who are not highly qualified and are not able to afford their education.

Starbucks college achievement plan

Granting to the Starbucks, most of the US partners are aspiring students and will not terminate their works due to skyrocketing costs and work/life equilibrium(Starbucks 2014a). The coffee chain therefore planned to introduce college achievement plan to support US students to complete their bachelor degrees and maintain balance between their work and life. In this plan Starbucks will offer full reimbursement college fees to their partners who works at least 20 hours in a week (Starbucks 2014a). In making it possible Starbucks collaborated with Arizona State University, which offers 40 undergraduate degree programs. Partners may select any undergraduate program from these 40 programs (Starbucks 2014a).

Benefit of this plan to Starbucks

Starbucks created an innovative collaboration with Arizona State University to empower thousands of US partners to finish their bachelors degree (Weinstei 2014). This creates a pattern to decrease the number of students who have not completed a degree due to intensifying debts and lack of support. Other than this, it will also increase the market value of Starbucks in the eye of its customers and this goodwill may increase the annual sales of its products. This plan may empower more students to get a job in Starbucks which will help Starbucks to retain their employees for a longer period. This will save Starbucks time and money.


  • Cochrane, M.R. and D., 2013. Student Debt and the Value of a College Degree, Available at: [Accessed July 16, 2014].
  • Ezekiel, H.J.• M.C.M.• D. & Zeiger, B., 2013. STUDENT DEBT AND THE CLASS OF 2012, Available at: [Accessed July 16, 2014].
  • Starbucks, 2014a. College Plan | Starbucks Coffee Company. Starbucks.
  • Starbucks, Our Heritage | Starbucks Coffee Company.
  • Starbucks, 2014b. Starbucks College Achievement Plan. , p.1 to 4.
  • Weinstei, J., 2014. What’s behind the Starbucks College Achievement Plan? | Al Jazeera America. Alzajeera America.
  • Whitsett, H.C., 2012. High Debt, Low Information: A Survey of Student Loan Borrowers, Available at: [Accessed July 16, 2014].