People who’ve traded a military uniform for a barista’s smock at Starbucks will now earn more than just a paycheck. They will get free tuition for a family member toward a college degree.
If a Starbucks employee is a U.S. veteran, or still an active-duty service member, the coffee chain will offer four-years of college tuition to their spouse or one of their children through Arizona State University’s online degree program. Because many active duty service members move so much, obtaining an online degree is often a preferable option.
The Seattle, Washington-based company announced the policy Sunday, just ahead of Veterans Day, November 11.
The perk is an expansion of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan begun last year which pays tuition for any employee working 20 or more hours per week. The company pays for four years of online college credits toward one of 50 undergraduate degrees through the Arizona university’s online education program.
The company realized veterans weren’t taking advantage of the program because they already had education opportunities through the G.I. Bill, a set of benefits the U.S. government offers to military service members. So it decided to pass the benefit on to their family members.
Starbucks’ hopes to used the free tuition to recruit more veterans. The company promised in 2013 to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. So far, they’ve hired 5,500 toward that goal.