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PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P. next year will begin an aggressive approach to helping its workers deal with student loan debt: The financial services firm will help pay that debt off.
New York-based PwC in late September launched an employee benefit that PwC said may reduce loan obligations by up to $10,000 and shorten the payoff period by up to three years.
The benefit will be available to about 22,000 PwC employees.
“This is an issue that's really critical to our people,” said Tom Codd, New York-based human capital leader at PwC, where millennials make up about 75% of the firm's workforce and the average age is 29.
“We know it's an area of stress,” Mr. Codd said of student loan debt. “We thought it just made sense as a benefit.”
Aside from relieving stress, Mr. Codd said he expects the benefit to help PwC attract and retain talent; the company plans to hire 11,000 employees directly from college campuses this year.
Gabriela Gutierrez, a McLean, Virginia-based PwC associate hired in August, plans to enroll in the student loan payback program.
Ms. Gutierrez said it will help her “be more flexible with my budget.”
“I'm currently living with my parents in order to pay off the student loans and trying to save up some money,” said Ms. Gutierrez, who recently graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.
“This is obviously going to help me pay off the loans quicker and maybe even save up enough to move out and not live on such a tight budget,” she said.
PwC has partnered with Boston-based Gradifi Inc., which will send the funds directly to qualified student loan providers.
“We thought it was important to be on the forefront of this,” Mr. Codd said. “It will be interesting to see what other employers do.”
Deborah Forbes was stunned when she learned that a budget deal congressional leaders and the Obama administration hammered out included provisions that again boost insurance premiums employers must pay the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.