PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global consulting and accounting firm, announced Tuesday that it will begin to help its junior-level employees pay back their student loans. Starting next July, all of PwC’s associates and senior associates—approximately 45 percent of the firm's 46,000 employees, from entry-level to six years of experience—will become eligible to receive as much as $1,200 a year for up to six years toward their student loans.
The benefit will be paid directly to the loan servicer of certified student loans, but still count as income for employees.
PwC currentlyhires close to 11,000 new employees a yearfrom college campuses, with almost 80 percent of the company's staff being labeled as "millennials" - the demographic that ranges from ages 22 to 35.
"We're recruiting millennials - we want to recruit the best - and they're coming to us with higher debt burdens than ever before," Rob Gittings, vice chairman of PwC, told CBS News. Gittings also noted that the program could especially benefit minorities, who tend to exit college with more debt than white students. "We want to be seen as a firm that isn't afraid of taking on big issues."
The United States is currently facing a college debt crisis of $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans across 40 million Americans.
"We have reached a tipping point," said Michael Fenlon, global talent director for PwC, viaThe Washington Post. "Student loan debt impacts the ability to save for retirement, so it has lots of secondary impact as well. We saw this as a way to provide leadership on a major societal issue, as well as something that's really important to our people."
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