Former Delaware Governor Jack Markell and Sallie Mae executives at a press conference for the newly renovated Sallie Mae corporate headquarters.

Sallie Mae, a prominent student loan provider, has ambitions to receive a $2.2 million state taxpayer grant that would greatly aid in the company’s goal to expand and add 285 employees to its Delaware operation, according to a press release from the First State’s official website.

If the grant is given to Sallie Mae, the student loan company plans to add 285 new customer service positions over the course of three years in northern Delaware. The addition of those new employees would bring Sallie Mae’s total employment in the state to over 1,030.

How exactly would the state taxpayer funded grant be utilized? Sallie Mae would use the grant to mitigate the initial losses brought on by bringing on new employees and new salaries. The money would be used incrementally as Sallie Mae hits new targets. The targets would have Sallie Mae hire 120 people in 2018, 75 more in 2019, and 83 in 2020.

The request for the grant became public information on July 17, and the Delaware Council on Development Finance heard the Sallie Mae proposal on July 24. If granted, the money would come from the Delaware Strategic Fund. The exact number coming from the Strategic Fund and into Sallie Mae’s coffers would be $2.16 million. It should be noted that the Delaware Council on Development Finance rarely rejects proposals.

In a press release, Delaware Governor John Carney had the following to say: "We're glad Sallie Mae has chosen to significantly expand its operations here in Delaware," Gov. John Carney said in a release. “Delaware has an experienced, skilled financial sector workforce that is perfectly suited for this expansion.”

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Folks in Delaware are looking for new jobs after many employees in the Wilmington area were laid off by HSBC Bank and Barclays. Currently, Sallie Mae is in the process of negotiating a lease agreement to rent office space at Churchman’s Corporate Center while HSBC slowly phases out employees in the same office space. Sallie Mae already stated that they plan on spending nearly $5 million to simultaneously fund the expansion and renovate the aforementioned office.

The grant and subsequent hires would help the state of Delaware by reducing the expenses of unemployment insurance that followed the layoff. A laid-off worker in Delaware that made the state’s average annual income would qualify to receive 26 weeks of unemployment insurance which adds up to more than $8,000.

This is not the first time Sallie Mae has dealt with the grant process in the state of Delaware. In 2014, the student loan company was given $3.7 million from the Strategic Fund with the goal to create more than 300 jobs. As 2016 came to a close, Sallie Mae actually hired more people than the original projections called for. Similar to the current grant proposal, the grant was disbursed incrementally as new hires were brought on.

“Since our establishment of Sallie Mae as a standalone consumer banking business more than three years ago, we’ve focused on building out our customer service operation. That’s meant hundreds of new jobs here at our headquarters in Delaware,” stated Raymond J. Quinlan, Chairman and CEO of Sallie Mae. “We are eager to draw again from this talented local workforce as we continue to grow the business.”

Image Copyright © Jack Markell