Staples, Inc. just announced they are launching the first phase of a new plan to help their employees repay their student loans. This program will target both new hires and existing employees who have proven to be top performers in the company. This program will be available to more employees in the future.
Full-time, US-based employees with a minimum of one outstanding loan who are either in the process of earning or have earned a degree at an accredited university will receive $100 per month applied toward their loan principal for 36 months for a total of $3,600.
To implement the Student Loan Repayment Plan, Staples is partnering with Tuition.io, a platform that works with companies to offer tuition reimbursement as an employee benefit. Tuition.io will work with Staples to contribute the payments directly to their employees’ student loan providers.
Noam Katz, the CTO of Tuition.io, said the company is excited to begin working with Staples and that by offering a program that is compelling to both current and future employees, Staples is strengthening both its hiring efforts and employee retention.
A large number of Staples’ employees are millennial workers, and student loan debt is a growing concern for this population. The average student graduates from college with $28,000 in student loan debt, and this debt has caused many millennials to put off major milestones like buying a house, getting married, or starting a family.
Regis Mulot, Staples’ chief human resources officer, says that Staples is bringing more than 1,000 people on board to their sales industry. They are launching this employee student loan repayment program within the retail industry to show their support to both new and current employees.
The Student Loan Repayment Plan is just one of the education-based benefits that Staples offers to its employees. Other benefits include the Tuition Reimbursement Program, which allows eligible employees to earn tuition reimbursement based on the number of years they have been with the company. Staples also offer the Dependent Scholarship Program, which gives 30 awards of $3,000 to their employees’ dependents who plan to attend college.
Staples also launched new recruiting efforts, such as their internal recruitment program, which proactively reaches out to current employees and offers them new opportunities within the organization. They also plan to begin a program later this year called “Refer a Talent”, which allows employees to recommend and help bring qualified outside candidates on board, even if there is not a specific job open.
Staples is one of the first major retail companies to offer student loan repayment as an employee benefit. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, only 4 percent of businesses offer to help their employees pay off their student loans. But this trend is beginning to increase, with PwC, Aetna, Fidelity, and Prudential all launching their own student loan repayment programs for their employees earlier this year. Some of these companies even help their employees access the best refinance rates by connecting them with private companies that offer them.