Reducing Student Debt Attracts Millennial Talent

Every second, $3,000 in student debt is being acquired, according to As graduates seek out quality positions to keep them off Ramen while paying down their debt, companies are also looking for new ways to draw in quality talent.

Chicago-based startup Peanut Butter, a benefits administration platform, helps employers attract, retain and engage Millennial talent with student loan assistance through resources that help students reduce their debt or increase the ROI of their benefit spend by contributing towards their loans.

David Aronson, CEO and founder Peanut Butter, who previously worked in HR outsource and corporate innovation for a billion dollar division of Sears Holdings Corp., figured out that companies would like to put their benefit dollars to use but the administrative side was a complex and painful task.

For companies that can facilitate modest contributions to employee student loans, Peanut Butter can help employers lower turnover and on-boarding costs.

“There is $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and about 70 percent of the graduating class of 2016 will enter the workforce with student debt. Our clients are trying to differentiate themselves with collegiate talent,” said Aronson.

The company is projected to service 20,000 client employees by the beginning of 2017, have expanded to 16 employees, and gained clients in eight different states. Recently the company announced three big partnerships to fuel their offerings to clients: Credible, a leading marketplace for student loan refinancing, Money Management International, the largest non-profit, full–service credit counseling organization in the nation, and Holberg Financial (HF), a FINRA financial advisor to provide student loan counseling and financial planning to its employees. In addition, the company is self-funded to date and continues to work out of 1871 incubator in Chicago.

Peanut Butter was a recent Top 5 Finalist in the 2016 Tech.Co Startup of the Year Competition. We captured their pitch here. When asked what is the most exciting part of building the company, Aronson said it comes down to helping people.

“The average person pays more per month on the minimum student debt than they do for a car,” Aronson said. “Seeing the affinity that we are helping our clients succeed is uplifting for me.”

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Written by:
Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.
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