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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Chegg, the online education company known for its textbook rental service, is launching a program to more aggressively help pay down its employees' student debt.

Why it matters: Instead of waiting on the possibility that Washington will tackle the growing pile of debt, a growing number of companies — and deep-pocketed private citizens — are taking on the whopping student debt burden that's plaguing millennials.

How it works: Chegg will essentially issue stock grants to employees from an equity pool that already existed (so there's no dilution), and the equity will be converted to cash and paid out annually to employees through a platform called Tuition.io.

  • This would be on top of the $1,000 Chegg employees with student debt already get in cash every year.
  • "All companies in America could take a pool of equity or cash that's generally used in other places for compensation, and re-route it to those who need it the most to pay down student debt," Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig tells Axios.

Details:

  • Entry-level employees through managers, who have been at Chegg for at least two years, will receive up to $5,000 annually to put toward student loans.
  • More senior employees, like at the director or vice president level, can get up to $3,000 annually.
  • On average, Chegg employees have $25,000 to $30,000 in student debt. The company has 1,087 employees, per its most recent financial filing, but not all are eligible given the program's two-year employment requirement.

What's next: There's no tax break for companies that have programs like this, but Rosensweig said he's been talking to lawmakers — though he wouldn't say which ones — about this idea.

Go deeper: How student debt causes lower incomes

Go deeper

Scoop: Over 200 papers quietly sue Big Tech

Newspapers all over the country have been quietly filing lawsuits against Google and Facebook for the past year, alleging the two firms monopolized the digital ad market for revenue that would otherwise go to local news. 

Why it matters: What started as a small-town effort to take a stand against Big Tech has turned into a national movement, with over 200 newspapers involved across dozens of states.

Updated 7 mins ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
8 mins ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.