Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) wants to do its part to tackle student debt, so beginning in 2021, Google will match student loans up to $2,500 per employee per year as a company benefit. John Casey, Google's director of global benefits, announced this plan in an internal email on Thursday.
Casey noted that the cost of education has become an obstacle to getting ahead financially. Google hopes that with this benefit, its indebted employees can save money, start a family, or invest in a 401(k).
"Lack of financial resources should not prevent someone from accessing the opportunities that come with education," Casey said.
Student loan debt has become a crisis in the U.S. as total indebtedness now tops $1.5 trillion and has nearly tripled since 2007. As a result, millions of former college students, particularly women and people of color, struggle to fund other financial priorities.
This program will help Google's full-time employees but will not include contractors or temp workers. For now, this will also benefit only U.S.-based employees, though the company plans to roll this out to its non-U.S. employees in time.
Google has also made affordable education a priority in recent months. In July, it rolled out Google Career Certificates. These offer students the skills needed in what it deems high-paying, high-growth job fields. The company will also consider these certificates the equivalent of a four-year degree for purposes of applying for entry-level positions.
"We're hoping this student loan repayment program gives our workforce some relief from student loans and helps them build more financial stability over the long term," Casey said. "We'll keep looking for more ways to increase access to education and opportunity for everyone."