How is Starbucks giving baristas the perfect way to avoid student debt? Free tuition.

Ah, yes. COFFEE.

GIF via Starbucks.

We love it. No doubt many of us rely on it. And in one year, well, we've collectively spent around $40 billion on it. (Yes. BILLION.)


Now, thanks to an initiative from Starbucks, some of that money is going to a pretty awesome cause. Check it out:

Student loan debt is now nearly double the size of credit card debt. This program aims to address that crisis.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, May 15, 2017

Through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), eligible baristas get full tuition coverage for every year of college to earn their bachelor's degree.

That's right. FREE TUITION. I mean, how awesome is that?

To put that into perspective, the average college graduate in 2016 finished with over $37,000 in debt. In fact, estimates indicate that student loan debt as a whole for the U.S. has reached a whopping $1.31 trillion.

The program started in 2014, when Starbucks partnered with Arizona State University to offer their online college to dedicated baristas across the country. Whether they want to pursue business, filmmaking, or even dance instruction, Starbucks arms them with all the tools they need to succeed.

All images via Starbucks.

For Starbucks employees who have been looking to finish their education, this is game-changing.

"When the program first came out," explains Bryanna, an SCAP student, "I was intrigued by the fact that, you know, you could get your degree for free and you only have to work part time. It just seemed too good to be true."

"There's financial aid, but financial aid only goes so far," adds Genzel, a fellow SCAP student.

In addition to having their tuition covered, baristas receive support from a team of coaches and advisers and 24/7 tutoring on all sorts of subjects. They can also choose from over 60 undergraduate degrees.

On top of that, baristas who have served in the military have the option to extend their SCAP benefits to a family member of their choice.

When companies find ways to support the people who make them great, it's a win-win for everyone.

"Three years ago, I wasn't where I am now. And that's because of Starbucks." says Bryanna. "I have the opportunity just to go and film on the weekends, go to school, and work at the same time."

"It's a gift, honestly."

Today, that same gift is being given to over 7,000 partners currently enrolled in SCAP. And Starbucks is committed to graduating 25,000 by 2025.

A whole new crop of talented individuals are taking their first steps toward a brighter future. And all you need to do to help them out is something you're probably doing right now: drink coffee from Starbucks.

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