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Aug 13, 2016 09:18 AM EDT

Aetna To Help Employees With Their Student Loan Debt

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Aetna will be offering a new perk to its employees. The health care company will be giving its workforce a break on their student loan debt.

According to USA Today, Aetna made the announcement on Wednesday. The company will help pay down its employees' loans.

The student loan debt break program will begin in 2017. Next year, Aetna's 50,000 full-time employees will qualify for matching loan payments of up to $2000 annually and with a total of $10,000 per person.

Part-timers will still receive the benefit for half of the cap. One requirement is that employees will need to have earned undergrad or graduate degrees from accredited schools within the last three years.

"By helping ease their financial burden, our employees can better focus on our mission of building a healthier world," Mark Bertolini, chairman and CEO of Aetna, said.

Aetna is the latest company to join a small group of pioneers that tackles a common and widespread source of financial distress. Moreover, this is reportedly part of the company's efforts to attract and retain talent.

Society for Human Resource Management noted that the health care giant is the latest company to join the 3 to 4 percent of all American businesses that contribute to its employees' student debt payments. Nvidia, Memorial Hermann Health System and Natixis Global Asset Management are some of the other firms that offer this benefit.

The trend will definitely rise among industries that have heated competition for talent acquisition. The program is expected to appeal to Millennials, who make up 80 percent of the PwC workforce.

"As a firm that recruits more than 11,000 new hires off campus 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," Tom Codd, vice chairman and U.S. human capital leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said.

It was noted that there are about 71 percent of college graduates this year who carry student loan. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has also reported that the country has accumulated $1.3 trillion of student debt.

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