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Starbucks and ASU brew new opportunities for student workers

The new initiative called "Pathway to Admission" aims to entice prospective Starbucks employees who do not currently have the necessary requirements for admissions

A customer enjoys a tea and works on her laptop at the Starbucks on ASU’s downtown campus in Phoenix, Arizona pictured on Saturday, April 1, 2017.
A customer enjoys a tea and works on her laptop at the Starbucks on ASU’s downtown campus in Phoenix, Arizona pictured on Saturday, April 1, 2017.

ASU and Starbucks are expanding their collaboration to accommodate thousands of more Starbucks employees.

The collaboration, which started in 2014 to provide tuition-free college for their employees, will now offer an option for those who are ineligible to enroll at ASU.

The expansion takes classes from ASU’s Global Freshman Academy, another collaborative effort that ASU has with edX, a large online class provider.

ASU said in a statement that the expansion came about after Starbucks realized that employees who wanted to apply did not have the necessary admissions requirements.

“Since the launch of the program in 2014, some who applied were found to be academically ineligible for admission,” the statement said. “The new initiative gives those employees another opportunity to earn admission to ASU. Starbucks covers the cost of the courses, with employees paying a $49 fee to verify their identity for each class.”

The classes are provided through edX by ASU professors.

Related: One grande graduation speech with two pumps of Howard Schultz

Reggie Borges, the manager of global corporate communications for Starbucks said that the program is available to anyone who works a minimum of 20 hours a week at Starbucks.

“If you are a Starbucks member who works a minimum of 20 hours a week, you are eligible to apply for the Starbucks College Achievement Plan,” Borges said. “What that is, is basically your tuition-free college education is covered for and paid for by Starbucks and ASU.”

Borges said that the expansion, called "Pathway to Admission" expands this opportunity.

“Imagine if I am a partner who is really interested in going to college, but for whatever reason my qualifications don’t meet the standards of ASU,” Borges said. “I then go through what they call the Pathway to Admission program where you work with an advisor at ASU who determines what classes you need in order to give yourself the best chance to become admissions eligible."

Borges said that admission is not promised for all of those in the program.

“I can’t say you are guaranteed admission, it’s not guaranteed. You have to meet these requirements," Borges said. "But I would say if you are a partner that goes through the admissions program, and you do really well, the likelihood that you will end up being accepted to the program is very high.”

The funding for each student is shared by the University and Starbucks.

Related: One grande graduation speech with two pumps of Howard Schultz

Casey Ambrose, the senior director of marketing and communications for ASU Online said the University's online option is just as innovative and successful as its in-person classes. 

“Pathway to Admission courses are taught by the same ASU faculty who teach on its campuses,” Ambrose said. “In addition, ASU Online has the largest fully-online student population among U.S. research-intensive universities. In Spring B 2017, ASU Online enrolled over 25,000 students in over 100 online degree programs.”

Ambrose also said ASU participates in an education technology conference, enabling the University to increase the success of its programs.

“ASU, as the co-convener of the nation’s most significant ed-tech conference, is uniquely positioned to find, test and incorporate leading educational technologies from around the world,” she said. “Last year we reviewed nearly 100 new technologies and incorporated more than 40 in our platforms, ensuring high levels of student engagement, a clean and uncluttered user interface, and high levels of academic integrity.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @isaacwindeschef on Twitter.

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