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
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
● T-Mobile US announced plans to offer free seven-day iPhone
trials of its network. The carrier also announced a new music-streaming service in partnership with Rhapsody International and said that similar products like Spotify and Pandora Media will no longer count against the amount of gigabytes of high-speed data users pay for each month.
● Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit education company with about 75,000 students nationwide, warned that it may fail as it clashes with U.S. regulators over student data. Corinthian, which owns the Everest College, Heald College and WyoTech schools, said that the U.S. Department of Education has limited its access to federal funds after it failed to provide documents and other information to the agency. Shares in the company plunged 67 percent to 28 cents.
● Rolls-Royce said it will return $1.7 billion to shareholders instead of buying another company, a moved aimed at restoring investors’ confidence in the British aero-engine maker. The company’s shares climbed 7.4 percent after the announcement. The stock had lost 17 percent of its value over the past six months. Investors’ confidence in Rolls-Royce was shaken by an acquisition attempt followed by a profits warning earlier this year and an engine order cancellation.
● A U.S. judge said she had concerns about approving a $324.5 million settlement involving Apple, Google and two other tech companies in a lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to avoid poaching each other’s workers. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., must approve the deal. “I just have concerns about whether this is really fair to the class,” Koh said at a court hearing, adding that she had not made a decision about whether to approve the deal.
● Shares of Markit rose as much as 12.5 percent in their market debut, valuing the financial data provider at $4.83 billion and raising about $1 billion for its 12 bank shareholders. Highlighting strong demand for the shares, the size of the offering was increased by 17 percent to 53.5 million shares. The offering was priced at $24 per share, the mid-point of the expected price range, raising $1.28 billion.
● Activist investor Carl Icahn is urging discount retailer Family Dollar Stores to put itself up for sale immediately as its performance weakens and it faces mounting competition. He is also urging that three of his representatives be added to Family Dollar’s board. He made the case in a letter to Family Dollar chief executive Howard Levine that was published in a regulatory filing. Earlier this month, Icahn disclosed that he held a 9.4 percent stake in Family Dollar. In response, Family Dollar adopted a shareholder rights plan, or “poison pill.”
— From news services
● Earnings: CarMax, Darden Restaurants.