Starbucks is introducing a program that will cover some of its employee’s university fees. Starbucks and Arizona State University (ASU) are introducing the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a program designed to give US employees the opportunity to gain their Bachelor Degree free of costs. Employees based in the US working an average of 20 hours per week at any company-operated store may choose from more than 40 undergraduate degree programs taught by ASU. “There’s no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind. The question for all of us is, should we accept that, or should we try and do something about it,” said Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO, Howard Schultz, in a statement. “Supporting our partners’ [employees] ambitions is the very best investment Starbucks can make. Everyone who works as hard as our partners do should have the opportunity to complete college, while balancing work, school and their personal lives.” According to the statement, 50 per cent of US college students in the US fail to complete their degrees due to mounting debt, a tenuous work-life balance and a lack of support. Starbucks will provide students with a dedicated enrolment coach, financial aid counsellor and academic advisor to support them through to graduation. The program also will include adaptive learning services, networking and community-building opportunities and additional resources to help students plan their education. “For me, the opportunity to earn my degree means I have the chance to teach others and make a better life for myself and my mum who raised me and my three siblings on her own,” said Abraham Cervantes, who has been a Starbucks barista for two years. Employees will have no commitment to remain at the company past graduation.