The prominent professional services, accounting and auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is now trying to attract the most talented recent college graduates by adding a student loan repayment plan as an employee benefit, the company recently announced.
The benefit, worth up to $1,200 per year, will be offered to all new fulltime hires at the associate and senior associate level, the company said. “”It’s something that we want to be at the core of who we are … when you look at 40 million Americans having student debt, that’s a huge problem, and if we can figure out how to be even a small part of solving that, that’s what we want to do,” said a company spokesperson, Shannon Schuyler, the company’s “chief purpose officer,” in a statement to the media. PricewaterhouseCoopers is among the largest private employers known to formally offer a benefit of this kind.
“Young people neither willingly adopt nor care about 401(k) products. However, 70 percent of college graduates are finishing school with student loan balances averaging nearly $30k,” observes Brandon McQueen, CEO of Tuition.io, a student loan management company and parent company of Flex395.com, a subsidiary that helps employers set up student loan repayment plan benefits of their own.
Student loan repayment assistance has long been common benefits at the federal government agencies and the military, and in a number of non-profit organizations. The practice is now rapidly gaining favor among for-profit companies looking to differentiate themselves with recent college graduates and other upwardly mobile workers in the competitive labor marketplace.
This particular program would stand to benefit about 45 percent of the firm’s roughly 46,000 employees, mostly between the 1-year and 6-year mark.
Employees do not have to meet any time-in-service hurdles to qualify for the benefit. Nor do they have to repay the benefit if they leave the company early.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has a more detailed understanding of the student debt situation in America than most, having themselves generated a detailed report on the private student loan industry in 2012.
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