On Wednesday, Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers, announced that it will help pay down some of the student debt of its employees.
In 2017, Aetna will begin making matching loan payments of up to $2,000 a year for its full-time employees for up to five years, making for $10,000 in total. Part-time workers will be allotted half of this benefit.
In order to qualify, employees must have earned undergraduate or graduate degrees from an accredited institution within the last three years.
Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, said, “By helping ease their financial burden, our employees can better focus on our mission of building a healthier world.”
Somewhere between three and four percent of all U.S. companies make contributions towards their employees’ student debt payments. Aetna joins companies such as Nvidia, Fidelity, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in doing so.
The gesture of providing student loan relief to employees has become popular, as debt rates have reached $1.3 trillion nationwide. In addition, over 71 percent of the Class of 2016 has student loan debt.
PwC has seen success with its program, as millennials, who make up 80 percent of their workforce, have seen it as a way that the company differentiates itself. Over 6,300 PwC employees have enrolled in their provided program.
Fidelity’s program, which is very similar in scope to the one proposed by Aetna, has seen 6,000 employees enroll.
Despite targeting millennials, Aetna intends to let individuals of any age take advantage of the program.