Starbucks clarifies tuition program with Arizona State University

June 19
EDUCATION
Starbucks clarifies tuition program

The scholarship portion of a new education program that Starbucks is offering to help workers pay for an online degree consists entirely of a discount from Arizona State University and not money from the chain.

The Seattle-based company this week unveiled a benefit that is designed to let college juniors and seniors earn a degree from ASU at no cost. For the freshman and sophomore years, workers would pay a reduced tuition.

A major aspect of the program is an upfront scholarship Starbucks said is an investment between itself and Arizona State University. When asked how much of that scholarship portion the company is providing, Starbucks initially said financial terms weren’t being disclosed.

Following the announcement, however, Arizona State University President Michael Crow told the Chronicle of Higher Education that Starbucks is not contributing any money toward the scholarship portion. Instead, Arizona State will essentially charge workers less than the sticker price for online tuition.

Starbucks said Thursday that the scholarship is a reduced tuition rate. It estimates that the reduction in tuition would average about $6,500 over two years to cover tuition of $30,000.

To cover the remainder in the freshman and sophomore years, workers would apply for federal aid, such as Pell grants, and pay for the rest either out of pocket or by taking out loans. Starbucks would bear no costs in those years.

For the junior and senior years, Starbucks would reimburse workers for whatever tuition they had to cover either upfront or through loans, once they completed 21 credits.

Matt Ryan, chief strategy officer for Starbucks, said Thursday that for a worker’s junior and senior years, the company could potentially cover up to 58 percent of the tuition, in cases where workers didn’t qualify for grants.

If workers did qualify for grants, he said, Starbucks could be responsible for very little, if anything. He noted that workers’ financial situations can vary greatly.

— Associated Press

WEALTH
Report: Worldwide surge in millionaires

Nearly 2 million people around the world became millionaires last year, a year-over-year increase of 15 percent, as surging stock and home markets lifted the fortunes of the wealthy. The increase raised the number of millionaires to a record 13.7 million.

A report from consultant Capgemini and the Royal Bank of Canada estimated the combined net worth of millionaires at $53 trillion in 2013. That was up 14 percent from the year earlier — the second-biggest increase since the two companies began issuing wealth reports with comparable data in 2000.

Japan gained 425,000 millionaires — a rise of 22 percent, its biggest year-over-year increase since 2000. Japan’s was the largest percentage gain among the 25 countries with the most millionaires.

A big reason for the jump in Japan was surging stocks. The Nikkei 225, the main stock index, rose 57 percent last year. By contrast, the Standard and Poor’s 500 rose nearly 30 percent.

Japanese millionaires totaled 2.3 million, second only to the United States. The number of U.S. millionaires rose 570,000, 17 percent, to 4 million.

— Associated Press

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