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Google set to help employees pay off student loans amidst ‘debt crisis’

Google’s latest employee perk is to entice talent is help with student loans.

Beginning in 2021, Google will match up to $2,500 per full-time employee per year toward their student loan payments, John Casey, Google’s director of Global Benefits told employees on Thursday, according to an internal email seen by CNBC.

“College degrees are out of reach for many people around the world, and the rising student loan debt crisis has expanded an already pervasive wealth gap, globally,” Casey said in Thursday’s email. 

He added that Americans, in particular, face a student loan deficit upward of $1.5 trillion dollars, which he said is twice what it was a decade ago. 

The company’s new perk aims to assist students save extra money so they can do things like buy a home or start a family, Casey said.

Google will roll out the new benefit in the U.S. first, but plans to broaden to employees globally. 

During Q4, the company will “collect additional information to inform the rollout,” Casey said in the email.

 “It gets complicated with different lenders country by country,”  he added. 

The new perk comes as the company, whose popular in-office perks are not available during remote work, competes against tech companies like Facebook and Apple for young talents. 

The cost of living is quite expensive in the San Francisco Bay Area,where the bulk of tech companies and employees are headquartered.

Casey told employees the latest announcement is an expansion of its education reimbursements for employees, and that it partnered with Google’s employee resource groups Black Googler Network and Black Leadership Advisory Group, which he thanked for “helping us to get this done.”

“Because the burden of student loans weighs disproportionately on communities of color and women, this is a step toward creating a more equitable Google too,” Casey said in Thursday’s email. 

However, the new perk won’t apply to Google’s roughly 130,000 contractors and temp workers — just to the company’s roughly 123,000 full-time employees.

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