Thursday, February 18, 2016

Why Peanut Butter might be the cure for Millennials with student debt

Why Peanut Butter might be the cure for Millennials with student debt

Sam Dewey
Peanut butter pairs well with just about everything. Jelly. Apples. Bananas. Saltines and Eggo waffles and Oreos.
But today, peanut butter tastes sweetest alongside Chicago-based tech epicenter 1871, who on Wednesday announced a partnership with one of its member companies — called (you guessed it) Peanut Butter, Inc. — to help bring a potentially game-changing benefit to employees of 1871 companies.
Peanut Butter, one of our 50 Startups to Watch in 2016, provides an administration platform to employers that allows them to offer student loan repayment programs as a benefit to their employees. As debt-laden millennial workers delay buying homes and cars in favor of paying off crippling student loans, Peanut Butter is poised to alleviate an acute pain point felt by a deepening pool of young workers.
“Peanut Butter is a straightforward tool for companies large and small, as well as a powerful resource for employers to recruit and retain top talent,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman in a statement. “Adding this student loan repayment benefit to our robust set of resources further distinguishes 1871 and its member companies as they develop their businesses and make new hires.”
Increasing tuition rates (and subsequently, student debt) have been a matter of public scrutiny in recent years, as class after class of graduating seniors face ever-taller mountains of loans to repay. Most reports say average student loan debt sits at the threshold of a terrifying $30,000, and economists have long been trumpeting the alarm as to the negative implications that an entire generation’s collective debt could have on the economy. Still, cost of tuition is on the rise.
The perk is immediately available to current 1871 residents as well as alumni who maintain memberships, the tech hub said. Using Peanut Butter's tech, employers can make regular and secure contributions to student debt repayments and track overall impact.
Peanut Butter CEO David Aronson told the Chicago Tribune that employers using the platform contribute $133.33 a month on average, $33.33 of which is used for tax purposes while the remaining $100 is paid directly on the loan.
Those payments, he continued, can make a real, measurable impact in terms of both money and time saved for those with student debt.
This announcement follows 1871’s decision to offer its member companies a healthcare and benefits exchange, a first-of-its-kind move that made 1871 the first incubator in the world to offer such a program.
“1871 is helping alumni and member companies equip themselves with the employee value propositions that will attract the creative forces of top developers, designers, digital marketers, and account executives,” said Peanut Butter CEO David Aronson in the statement. “Paying off student debt is often one of the most meaningful accomplishments in the early part of one’s career. Companies that adopt student loan repayment are sending a clear message that they care about the financial well-being of employees and are working to establish a culture of shared achievement.”
1871 is no stranger to supporting its member companies in such a capacity, 1871 spokesperson Melissa Wooten told Built In Chicago. Some of those partnerships include CloudSpotter Technologies, the tech hubs official photography partner; Package Zen, which helps the tech hub organize mail services for all of their member companies; and BAD TESTING®, the member company behind 1871’s internal room reservation system.
Images via Shutterstock.

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