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Starbucks Employees Will Get Free Four-Year College Tuition Paid For Them

07/04/2015 16:51 BST | Updated 07/04/2015 16:59 BST

Starbucks has announced a radical new incentive to work for them in an attempt to "redefine the role and responsibility of a public company".

The US java giant is handing out free four-year university bachelor's degree courses to any American employee who wants to enroll in Arizona State University's online learning program.

The company is setting aside $250 million to pay for their staff's education, which cost an average of $60,000 per person.

starbucks howard schultz

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Senior staff members at the company believe this is an example of their attempt to "redefine" their image and the scheme will help them "attract and retain good people".

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said: "Consumers want to choose those companies that have like-minded values as them. By giving our partners access to four years of full tuition coverage, we provide them with a critical tool for a lifelong opportunity.

"The unfortunate reality is that too many Americans can no longer afford a college degree, particularly disadvantaged young people, and others are saddled with burdensome education debt.

"We're stronger as a nation when everyone is afforded a pathway to success."

starbucks barista

More than 144,000 US workers will be eligible for the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which is only available to staff who work more than 20 hours a week.

The new plan is an expansion of a scheme launched in 2014 where the company agreed to pay up to two years tuition for anyone wanting to finish a college degree they had already started.

Arizona State University offers to discount a large chunk of the tuition cost for Starbucks employees, with the company fielding the rest of the bill. The agreement was made on the basis Starbucks would not advertise or promote any other university to its workers or customers.

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