Growing trend: Corporations providing college tuition as employee benefit

Starbucks made headlines last spring as more than just a campus hot spot when it announced a free college tuition plan for its employees. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and health insurance company Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have now followed suit, and Starbucks has expanded its program.

While each corporation is partnering with a specific higher ed institution, the plans and stipulations vary:

  • Starbucks’ partner, Arizona State University, will cover 42 percent of a qualifying employee’s tuition for ASU’s online program, while Starbucks will reimburse the remaining 58 percent at the end of each semester. All full-time and part-time Starbucks employees without a four-year degree may apply. Previously, two years of college (junior and senior years) was offered, but that has been extended to four years for most workers.
  • Fiat Chrysler is going beyond tuition. Employees can attend Strayer University, a Virginia-based private, for-profit institution. Participating dealerships pay a flat fee to join the program, and the company covers tuition, books and other expenses for an unlimited number of employees from that location.
  • Anthem’s program is a reimbursement plan in partnership with College for America at Southern New Hampshire University. It’s open to full- and part-time employees who work 20 or more hours per week and have been employed at least six months.

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