Withum grants $95,000 to help employees pay off student loans

Withum, a top 25 company, awarded $95,000 in grants through the Thomas R. Suarez Student Loan Grant program to help employees pay off student loans.

In 2021, Withum established the Thomas R. Suarez Student Loan Grant. Tom Suarez is a company partner and former partner representative in the Princeton office. Suarez worked for the company since he graduated from college in 1976, but he passed away suddenly in 2020.

According to Theresa Richardson, chief talent officer at Withum, Suarez hopes recent graduates can get through their first job without the financial burden of student loans and achieve their professional goals in a welcoming environment. I was there. To date, Withum has provided approximately $200,000 to her Withum members through her Thomas R. Suarez Student Loan Grant initiative.

“The last thing young professionals need is to have more stress about money. If we can help take that away, it’s really a win-win for everyone,” Richardson said. “We always say that life should take priority over work. Students already have a lot to learn about the world and the industry, and they also have the opportunity to focus on their families.”

Around July, the company sent an email to its 2,000 employees, offering team members the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 renewable grant to reduce their debt. Suarez’s best friend and HR administrator girlfriend, Julia Zottman, receives the application and forwards it to the Withum Commission. Candidates are required to write a brief essay explaining how the grant will help them financially, and all names remain anonymous to ensure objectivity.

According to the 2021 Education Data Initiative report, the average student loan debt for an accounting student is about $23,000 for a bachelor’s degree and $28,000 for a master’s degree. But according to her Sherry Goode, one of this year’s winners, the grant goes beyond financial support.Currently working in Withum’s Washington, D.C. office as a Digital and Technology Transformation Advisory she leads services as a consultant. Witham Way.

Withum Managing Partner and CEO Bill Hagaman said in a statement: “We recognize that our employees work hard to earn degrees in accounting and advisory roles.Then take the CPA exam and become a Microsoft Certified Professional or (ISC)². You will need additional qualifications and qualifications, such as, to further your career path.”

Grace Hounsou, who received a $10,000 grant, is one of 16 other team members who benefited from student loans. She graduated from McDaniels College in Maryland with her $60,000 in debt, but with Witham’s help she graduated. Also, Hounsou could finish her debt-free year if she can qualify for President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. Hounsou, who has been paying $600 a month for the past four years and spending “the last of her cents” on student loans, can’t wait to turn her attention to her mortgage and her savings. .

Grace Haun

Hounsou shared the pain in her life. She lost her mother when she was young and with her father now incarcerated, she had to make her own path to success. Hounsou said she landed a well-paid tax accountant job right out of college and she was lucky to benefit from Withum’s support team, all thanks to her higher education. she says. So Hounsou wants to open a savings account for her future children and start a debt-free life, she hopes.

“Without this grant and Biden’s Forgiveness Program, it would have taken me years to pay off the debt. Those are the years I’m getting back,” Hounsou said. It didn’t feel very team oriented, but as soon as I got here, I felt a strong connection with my colleagues.Withum keeps us up to date with our weekly and quarterly team meetings. I’m doing my best to do that and I’m going to reunite with the whole company to tell you how they’re doing.

This isn’t the first time a national advisory firm has offered its staff unique benefits. Withum offers a shadow stock program for team members to share in the success of the company and a tuition reimbursement package for those who wish to return to school to expand their professional knowledge and career development. Nearly a decade ago, the company also created a company-sponsored Team Her Members Hardship Relief Fund to assist employees who experienced unexpected financial hardship due to Hurricane Sandy.

In 2021, Withum will launch the industry’s first Childcare fee refund system, reimburses employees for 25% of eligible annual childcare costs. Richardson says the program was born out of the pandemic because management at Witham knew how difficult it was for single parents to find an acceptable work-life balance. To continue these efforts, the company is adopting flexible working arrangements and offering additional fitness, wellness and mental health incentives to all team he members.

“I have been here for 25 years and witham always puts people first because they truly believe that human capital is their greatest asset,” Richardson said. said. “Whenever we do a survey, the first thing that comes back is our culture, and the atmosphere in our workplace is also what we sell to applicants. I think that’s our heart. Everything we do.”

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