HRE’s number of the day: Starbucks graduates

Here’s how many workers earned their degrees this year through the company’s tuition program.
By: | June 2, 2020 • 2 min read
Aricka Espinoza (Photo courtesy of Starbucks)


700: Number of Starbucks employees who graduated in May with their degree using their education benefit provided by the coffee giant

Nearly 700 Starbucks employees graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University with 100% of their tuition covered through Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP). The company virtually celebrated its largest graduating class to date, joining nearly 4,500 who have earned their degree through the program.

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What it means to HR leaders

The number is an indicator of success for a popular employee perk: tuition benefits. The benefit helps employees attain higher education and develop their skills, which can be valuable for both the employer and employee. Research finds that education benefits double as recruitment and retention tools—80% of employees say education benefits would make them more likely to recommend their employers, according to Bright Horizons. Experts also say adding the benefit shows an employer cares about employees’ educational and career development, which workers say is important.

Related: 10 benefits to bet on

Starbucks says its program—which it has had in place since 2014—has been a successful venture. More than 14,000 Starbucks workers across the U.S. are currently working toward a degree through SCAP, with more than 80 undergraduate degree options, the coffee chain says. More than more than 20% of those are first-generation college students. And nearly 4,500 total Starbucks partners have earned first-time bachelor’s degrees since the program was announced in 2014.

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.