"This is the most significant investment we've made in our partners since the introduction of Bean Stock," Burrows said. The program is meant to help with the financial burden of education, he said.
Other U.S. companies offer college tuition reimbursement — some with stricter requirements. L Brands, owner of Victoria's Secret, gives employees who've worked at least one year full-time as much as $3,000 a year for college tuition. Home Depot offers tuition reimbursement for salaried and full-time hourly workers.
Of Starbucks' 135,000 U.S. store employees, about 25 percent already have a bachelor's degree. Seattle-based Starbucks has about 11,600 U.S. locations.