Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) announced today the Phase I launch of a new student loan repayment plan that will help ease the burden of associates with student debt. The program initially targets specific new hire sales associates and existing internal candidates who have been identified as high potential and top performers and will be offered to additional groups in the future. Active, full-time US associates with at least one outstanding loan obligation, who have obtained or are in the process of receiving a degree from an accredited institution, will have their loan principal paid at $100/per month for 36 months. Student loan debt is an increasing issue among the millennial population, which represents a large portion of Staples' employee-base. Within the industry over 70 percent of college grads leave school with student loan debt and of millennials 42 percent claim debt as their biggest concern. Over a trillion dollars of student loan debt is held by 40 million borrowers and new graduates owe a record-breaking average $37,000 in loans. "Staples is pioneering this effort within the retail industry to help with the recruitment and retention of the key talent needed to support our previously announced strategy to focus on mid-market customers," said Regis Mulot, executive vice president, global human resources. "We're adding more than 1,000 people to our sales force and offering a student loan repayment benefit shows our commitment to supporting both new and existing associates." The Student Loan Repayment Plan is being administered by Tuition.io, the leading platform for employee student loan contributions. "Student debt is one of the foremost concerns facing millennials nationwide. As such, Tuition.io is thrilled to be working with Staples to help them contribute payments directly to their employees' student loan service providers," said Noam Katz, CTO at Tuition.io. "By offering such a compelling initiative to current and prospective employees, Staples is simultaneously enhancing its recruitment efforts while strengthening employee retention." In addition to the new student loan repayment plan, the company has launched a series of innovative recruiting efforts. With the company's new internal headhunting program, in-house recruiters proactively reach out to current associates and offer them other opportunities within the organization. Staples is also conceptually piloting a program later this year called "Refer a Talent" where associates are encouraged to refer high-potential outside candidates in order to facilitate bringing them on board even if there is not a specific open job requisition.