Student loan company Sallie Mae plans to create 285 new customer service jobs in New Castle County, the Delaware Division of Small Business, Development & Tourism said Monday.

That would bring the company’s total employment in Newark to more than 1,000.

As a part of the planned growth, Sallie Mae is applying for a Delaware Strategic Fund Grant of up to $2.16 million. If approved, no disbursements would be made until after the company reports new employment numbers.

The proposal will come before the Council on Developmental Finance Monday, July 24 for approval. Under the deal being considered, Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) will actively look to hire impacted workers from a specific group of local companies that have recently announced layoffs.

“We’re glad Sallie Mae has chosen to significantly expand its operations here in Delaware,” Gov. John Carney said in a statement. “Delaware has an experienced, skilled financial sector workforce that is perfectly suited for this expansion. And we’re proud to support Sallie Mae, and the Delawareans who work there, as the company continues to put down roots here in our great state.”

Sallie Mae began in 1972 as a government entity that service federal education loans. It then became private and started offering private student loans. Its primary business is originating, servicing, and collecting private education loans.

In April 2014, Sallie Mae spun off its loan servicing operation and most of its loan portfolio into a separate, publicly traded entity called Navient Corp., which is also based in Delaware. Navient is the largest servicer of federal student loans and acts as a collector on behalf of the Department of Education.

Sallie Mae Chairman and CEO Raymond J. Quinlan said since the company was established as a standalone consumer banking business more than three years ago, it has focused on building out its customer service operation. “That’s meant hundreds of new jobs here at our headquarters in Delaware,” Quinlan said in a statement. “We are eager to draw again from this talented local workforce as we continue to grow the business.”

Jeff Blumenthal covers banking, insurance and law.

Article by Philadelphia Business Journal