Starbucks: Educating Employees

Starbucks just announced that it would help its baristas obtain college degrees: those who work for at least twenty hours a week for two years are eligible for tuition subsidies at Arizona State University (online), and those who work for more than two years would be eligible for tuition reimbursement. (Story.)

I’m going to exercise a lot of self-control and not snark about how the higher education bubble has resulted in a lot of baristas already having college degrees. Let’s focus on the meat of this: we’re going back in time to when it was normal for kids to work their way through college.  When college is cheap, it makes sense to spend time working to pay for it: the reduction in time spent studying is more than offset by the fact that you’re paying for all of it by working.  However, when college is expensive, it makes little sense to work full-time and pay only a tenth or a twentieth of the cost.

The next time I order a marble mocha macchiato, I know that some of the exorbitant cost will be helping one of the baristas to get a degree.  That’s really neat.


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