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

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.

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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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Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

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via Pixabay

As people get older, social isolation and loneliness become serious problems. Many find themselves living alone for the first time after the death of a spouse. It's also difficult for older people to maintain friendships when people they've known for years become ill or pass away.

Census Bureau figures say that almost a quarter of men and nearly 46% of women over the age of 75 live alone.

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