Eau Claire company looks to help employees with student loans

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Student debt can be crippling but an area company is working on lending a hand by joining an effort aimed at helping its employees pay back their student loans.

Gradifi is a platform that allows companies to design a program to assists graduates in paying off their student loans.

Eau Claire design company, Powertex Group, is the first business in Wisconsin to utilize the platform.

E-marketing assistant Alanda Povroznik has been full-time at Powertex since graduating in June of last year but is now faced with the burden of repaying her student loans.

“I just ended the grace period of sixth months after graduating so everything is kind of weighing on me now,” she said. “Of course I'd like to pay them off as soon as possible but sometimes it's not feasible with all the other bills that you have so my main concern is paying them off in a timely manner.”

With the average UW system graduate being $30,000 in student debt Powertex is working to ease some of the financial strain on its employees.

“It all starts with the student loan side of it that's the first major debt they encumber,” explained vice president of sales Gray Powers.

Powers says about a quarter of its employees will be participating in the program which he says will help the company hire new employees and be beneficial for grad students who can hopefully plan for their future.

“It's a win-win,” said Powers. “Based on that ability to help those folks who come in and engage with our organization and that will also provide benefits to the organization as well as we help them achieve their goals.”

Gradifi’s service lets an employer offer a student loan plan which they can customize by determining who is eligible, how much they want to contribute, and the length of time the program lasts.

Then Gradifi will take the company’s plan and manage it so employees will then see an extra payment in their student loan account to help them get out of debt faster.

The cost for the company to use the program ends up being $3 to $5 a month per employee.

Gradifi says on average employers provide about $100 dollars per month to employees in the Student Loan Paydown Plan.

At Powertex employees will start seeing the benefits of the program beginning in June.

“I think it's an awesome program,” said Povroznik. “Just having a little bit of a decrease in my student loans would be an awesome, awesome thing.”

The founder of Gradifi tells WEAU while Powertex is the first company to participate in Wisconsin there are six other businesses considering joining the program.

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