Clinton Fareway store set to begin student debt relief program

CLINTON — A Clinton grocer is joining a company-wide initiative to help pay off its employees’ student debts.

Fareway, 1350 N. 11th St., on Jan. 1 began its registration process for eligible employees to receive $100 per month to pay off student loans up to $5,000, company officials confirmed last week.

“Absolutely, yes, Clinton will be a part of this,” Fareway Senior Vice President Garrett Piklapp said. “Our overall benefit package was very competitive to begin with, but we’re always thinking about how we can get better.”

Company wide, roughly 3,000 employees are eligible for the benefit, according to a recent news release. Eligibility numbers for the Clinton location were unavailable.

The loan payments will be administered by a third party, with payments made directly to the lending company and applied to the principal balance, according to Piklapp.

The company’s CEO said in a recent statement that the program is an effort to retain its employees, as well as attract new ones in a time when student debt has inflated 28 percent in the past decade. The move may also encourage current employees with no higher education to pursue that option now, as well.

“We are excited to provide this additional benefit to our employees,” Fareway CEO Reynolds Cramer said. “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.”