By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager.
With the United States facing a college debt crisis of $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans and 40 million Americans weighed down with these debts, PwC has announced a benefit for its people whereby qualified associates and senior associates could get $1200/yr for up to six years to help with college loans. Tom Codd, PwC Vice Chairman and U.S. Human Capital Leader, helped us understand more about the benefit, its implications for students and the firm’s quest to attract the best and brightest talent.
What is the new PwC landmark benefit all about?
“Starting July 2016, PwC will offer its associates and senior associates, from entry-level to six years of experience, up to $1,200 a year for up to six years to help pay back their student loans. Over time, this benefit may help reduce student loan principal and interest obligations by as much as $10,000 per employee and shorten loan payoff periods by up to three years. In order to qualify for this benefit, employees do not have to work at PwC for a minimum number of years and they do not have to pay it back if they leave before the six year mark.”
What need does it serve?
“Student loan debt has reached crisis level in the US, totaling $1.3 trillion. 71% of students are now graduating college with an average loan balance of $35,000. Since we recruit more than 11,000 new hires from campuses each year, this is an opportunity to differentiate ourselves with a key talent group—millennials—and provide a meaningful way to help reduce their debt.”
What are the factors that make the benefit so significant?
“Today, 40 million Americans live under the weight of student debt. That debt is impacting the ability for young adults to save for retirement. Furthermore, debt levels are causing other societal impacts, such as delaying home purchases and affecting our economy, as a whole. By helping our employees pay down their student debt, we are helping our employees pave their way to a more secure financial future.”
How does the Earn Your Future commitment tie in?
“Earn Your Future is PwC’s $190 million commitment to advance financial literacy and youth education in the U.S. To date, PwC has reached more than 1.1 million students and 46,000 educators through its curriculum, trainings and support. It is focused on helping students develop critical financial skills and providing educators with the resources and trainings to teach those skills. The new Student Loan Pay Down benefit underscores PwC’s commitment to improving financial literacy because as it helps relieve financial burden, it also encourages young adults to make wise financial decisions and manage money responsibly. We all have a stake in helping young people build healthy financial futures faster because that in turn allows them to contribute to our communities and society more broadly.”
What plans are there for the future?
“PwC’s stated purpose is ‘Build trust in society and solve important problems’. Today, so many graduates are faced with the burden of student debt. Recent graduates make up more than 45% of PwC’s employee population. The average age of a PwC employee is 29. This is an important issue to our people, and we need to take initiative in finding a solution. Of course, no organization can single-handedly tackle the issue of student debt, but it’s an area where we believe we can and should make a difference.”