Starbucks made national headlines with its announcement that the coffee giant will offer its employees tuition remission for two years of education at Arizona State University Online. The announcement was met with broad support, including from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. However, says David M. Perry, PhD, associate professor of history, the benefit may in fact be a net loss in the country's quest to make college affordable for all people.
"Today in America, we're a long way from that goal. Unfortunately, the highly touted plan from Starbucks to provide increased tuition assistance doesn't really help -- and might hurt," Perry wrote in an op-ed for cnn.com.
"In fact, it would be a terrible thing for education to become another employer-dependent benefit. This new program may help some Starbucks employees by providing access to online classes, but it will do nothing to attack structural problems such as the national student debt crisis or skyrocketing tuition rates (1,200% in 30 years!). Rather, the need for such a benefit is a confirmation that the system is broken."