6 CEOs who are our ‘other American presidents’ E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons by Claire Zillman @FortuneMagazine June 17, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT On Monday, Starbucks SBUX announced that it would offer a steeply discounted online college degree through Arizona State University to eligible baristas who work at its United States locations for at least 20 hours a week. In rolling out the program, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz accomplished, albeit on a smaller scale, what the Obama administration has long tried – and often failed – to do: make college more affordable and accessible. “Everyone who works as hard as our [employees] do should have the opportunity to complete college, while balancing work, school and their personal lives,” Schultz said in a company release. President Barack Obama has made strikingly similar statements, but he’s failed to compel a do-nothing Congress to make good on them. “No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, how you were raised, who you love, if you’re willing to work hard … you can make it here in America,” the president said on June 9, before signing an executive order to increase access to a student loan income-based repayment program – one of the few actions he could take without Congressional approval. To prove just how effective it’s been at preventing comprehensive legislation, two days later the Senate killed a bill sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Warren that would have allowed an estimated 25 million student loan borrowers to refinance their debt at lower interest rates. Feeble lawmaking has opened the door for business leaders like Schultz, who–armed with considerable power–have made executive decisions to address social issues Congress has refused to touch. “We can’t be bystanders. And we can’t wait for Washington,” Schultz said in a video that Starbucks released on Monday. “And I strongly believe that businesses and business leaders must do more for their people and more for the communities we serve.” Well said. Here are some other execs who have already followed that advice.