"When it comes to college, the central challenge for most Americans in the 21st century is not going; it's finishing." Last June, Starbucks and Arizona State University announced their plan to reverse this trend. Starbucks would help its employees finish college by offering tuition discounts to attend ASU. While the PR blitz around the announcement focused on tuition support, the most revolutionary part of the program stemmed from a deep look at why 35 million Americans now have some college experience but no degree. College, as it turns out, is not only expensive, but also a difficult place to navigate. Without strong support networks like the ones affluent American parents and elite universities provide their students, college can become impossible to navigate. To overcome this barrier, Starbucks and ASU committed themselves to providing enrolled employees with a financial-aid adviser, an enrollment counselor, an academic adviser, and a "success coach." Did the experiment work? The Atlantic's Amanda Ripley gives us an inside look at the rise of the barista.
The Rise of the Barista
May 27, 2015