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Starbucks to team up with Arizona State to offer employees free classes

Starbucks employees will soon have another perk beyond all the coffee you can drink: On Monday, the company is announcing that it will provide free online education through Arizona State for most of its workers. Baristas don't have to stay with the company to receive the benefit, a first for a major U.S. corporation.

The program is open to every Starbucks employee in the United States, The New York Times reports, as long as they work at least 20 hours a week and are able to gain admission to Arizona State through good grades and test scores. If an employee has two years or more of college credit, Starbucks will pay full tuition; if it's less than that, the worker will pay some of the cost, but can apply for university and government aid. Tuition for Arizona State online is normally around $500 per credit, with 120 credits needed for a bachelor's degree.

A company survey showed that 70 percent of Starbucks employees do not have a degree but want one. Barista Michael Bojorquez Echevarria told The New York Times that he works 60 hours a week at two different Starbucks locations in Los Angeles, while also working toward an associate's degree. "Imagine just waking up one day and knowing that your whole degree would be paid for, and the only thing you have to do is enroll and study and be a good student," he said. "It would change my lifestyle, the whole dynamic of what I do every day."