Fareway to Help Associates Pay off Student Loans
This coming new year, some associates at Fareway Stores Inc. can look forward to emerging from student debt. Beginning Jan. 1, the independent Midwestern grocery store chain will assist full-time employees with paying off their student loans. The new program, dubbed Fareway Fast Forward, was created to help ease the financial burden of repaying student loans.
Eligible associates may receive as much as $100 per month toward their outstanding student loans. The benefit will be administered by a third party, with payments made directly to the student loan company and applied to the principal balance of the loan.
“We are excited to provide this additional benefit to our employees,” noted Fareway President and CEO Reynolds W. Cramer. “It will help reduce the financial stress of paying student loan debt and encourage employees to consider higher education who may not have previously due to its cost.”
An employee’s lifetime benefit is $5,000, or the equivalent of 50 months of payments. To be eligible to take part in the program, an employee must complete a 45-day elimination period after becoming full-time.
Currently, about 3,000 Fareway associates qualify for the benefit, ranging from current college students to older adults continuing their education, according to the Quad City Times, in Davenport, Iowa.
Other employers offering such a benefit include Staples, Estee Lauder and Fidelity Investments, the newspaper reported. Fareway appears to be one of the first grocers to offer a student loan repayment program for its associates.
Boone, Iowa-based Fareway operates 122 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. The company is No. 47 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.