Fareway Stores Inc. announced it will begin offering student loan repayment assistance as an employee benefit, beginning Jan. 1. The benefit, which will be offered to eligible full-time employees, will pay up to $100 per month toward the principal of the employees’ student loan. The program, called Fareway Fast Forward, is intended to reduce employee stress about student debt, and is also meant to encourage employees who may not have considered pursuing higher education due to its cost, Fareway President and CEO Reynolds Cramer said in a news release. The lifetime benefit for an employee will be $5,000, or the equivalent of 50 months of payments. Only 4 percent of U.S. employers currently offer student loan repayment benefits, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2018 employee benefits report.