Staples will give workers $3,600 to pay student loans

In this May 17, 2011 file photo, a Staples sign is displayed on the front of a Staple store, in Portland, Ore. Staples is buying Office Depot in a cash-and-stock deal valued at nearly $6 billion. Office Depot Inc. shareholders will receive $7.25 in cash and 0.2188 of a share in Staples Inc. at closing. The deal values Office Depot at $11 per share. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(CNN) — Staples will help some of its workers pay off their student loans, joining a growing group of companies offering this kind of perk.

Eligible employees will receive $100 a month for three years, for a total of $3,600. At first, the benefit will only be offered to “top performers” throughout the company who’ve been nominated by leadership, as well as new hires for Staples’ business-to-business sales team. The eligible workers can be paying off a degree they’ve already finished or currently enrolled at an accredited college.

Staples (SPLS) said the student loan repayment plan will be offered to additional groups in the future.

The company currently has 74,000 workers and a large portion are Millennials. It would not say how many would immediately be eligible for the program, but it’s currently adding more than 1,000 people to its sales team. The student loan repayment plan will be used as a recruitment tool and help with the retention of new talent, a spokesman said in a statement.

About 70% of recent college grads leave school in debt and the average borrower is facing $30,100 in loans. That means they’ll be paying about $300 a month over 10 years in a standard federal loan repayment plan.

Staples is one of the first big retail companies to offer this kind of employee perk.

Just 4% of all businesses give workers money they can use to pay down their student loans, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

But the number is growing. PwC, Aetna, Fidelity and Prudential are some of the biggest names to offer a student loan repayment program. All four launched earlier this year.

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