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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Opinion

Starbucks’ scholarship offers discount to employees


The average UH student can expect to see changes between their first day of freshman year and their final day of senior year. For the most part, these changes include a new building or dining option, but the largest and least noticed change of all is the population of a student’s graduating class.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 41 percent of college students start their degree but never end up completing it. This is an alarmingly large figure considering how much it costs to take those initial classes and how many hours of studying it requires to make good grades. Not to mention the amount of aspiration it takes to fuel those who wish to achieve a greater education can be exhausting.

Students should be working on their discipline and striving to grasp that which could pump up their resumes, increase their salary ranks and equip them with skills to function higher on the societal dog-eat-dog ladder — and many students are able to do just that.

Students undergo these tedious activities because they want to graduate college; therefore, it would be disheartening to trudge through all the stress and debt and not earn a degree.

There are various reasons that some students are unable to finish their degrees. A student may have gotten caught up in the party hype of college, undergone financial crisis or was not able to earn the grades.

Biochemistry junior Jasmine Alvey said that she understands firsthand the challenges many students face when it comes to college expenses.

“Paying for college is a struggle, and from my real life experience it forced me to take a year and a half out of school,” Alvey said. “Fortunately, I worked it out and I made it back, but so many students are not so lucky.”

The financial burden is often the heaviest. Students have been known to acquire a number of minimum wage jobs in order to pay for a college education that they may not complete. With the average rate of minimum wage, there isn’t much of a sync between students’ work lives and educational lives — and this might be changing soon. 

According to starbucks.com, Starbucks is introducing a partnership with Arizona State University with a mission to stop uncompleted degrees by offering to reimburse the college tuition for any employees of the Starbucks Company who work 20 or more hours a week. Through this program, baristas can register for online classes at ASU and receive professional guidance on how to get on track in obtaining their college diploma.

“These scholarships will do so much to help reduce the mushrooming college dropout rate,” Alvey said.

However, following the announcement of this reimbursement plan, there was some confusion surrounding the fine print of this scholarship. While poor college students rushed to their neighborhood Starbucks, the fine print of this scholarship was released.

According to USA Today, Starbucks will grant scholarships to employees who have first completed 21 credits at ASU. Once a student employee has reached the credit requirement, they will receive a cut-rate tuition charge for the online schooling rate from ASU, followed by the Starbucks’ award.

For freshman and sophomores, the up-front award will be smaller with no reimbursement for the remaining balance.  For juniors and seniors, the award will be about twice as large, plus they receive reimbursement for the remaining cost. Therefore, it may not quite be time to begin applying to be a barista — especially since this scholarship is currently being offered to ASU students.

As for freshman and sophomores who do not receive tuition reimbursement — as well as the countless other college students not attending ASU — there is always the opportunity to obtain government funded financial aid.

Luckily, Starbucks is not the only employer with a will to help.  In fact, there are dozens of companies out there committed to encouraging higher education.

For example, Affordable Colleges Online reported that Chevron employees get up to 75 percent education benefits that go towards tuition, books and fees. AT&T offers its employees up to $20,000 in reimbursement for undergraduate degrees and CVS offers reimbursement to all eligible full-time employees.

In addition, large companies such as Apple, UPS, Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo are also stepping up and getting involved in order to increase the recently declining college graduation rate. For access to a more complete list, visit AffordableCollegesOnline.org/Financial-Aid.

With so many opportunities to shave away that hefty tuition, there should be no reason students don’t finish their degree. It requires just a few years of concentration, relentless self-discipline and a desire for more money in the bank.

After all, a college diploma is invaluable. It shows drive. It shows knowledge. It shows success.

Opinion columnist Michelle Odgers is a creative writing junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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