More employers in the U.S. are adding a new employee benefit—they pay off a portion of the employee's student loans. Saving for college is a challenge and student loan debt has grown a lot. Employers are beginning to see the value in providing a student loan repayment benefit to workers.
The average U.S. student loan debt is $39,351 for borrowers of all ages. The total student loan debt reached about $1.7 trillion at the end of 2020, according to Federal Reserve data. For many reasons, the total and averages of student loan debt have grown out of control. Some people hope that the government will offer student loan forgiveness.
In the meantime, employers realize that many people they want to hire are struggling with outsize student loan payments. Since student loan forbearance (the pause on payments and interest) is due to end on September 30, student loan repayment is definitely on many borrowers’ minds.
Employers that pay student loans
Aetna offers matching of up to $1,000 per year for part-time employees and a $5,000 lifetime maximum. For full-time employees, it’s a $2,000 annual match up to $10,000 maximum.
What should I do if my employer pays for student loans?
First, makes sure that you fully understand your employer’s guidelines for any student loan payments, including:
- Full-time or minimum part-time hours
- Most have a lifetime maximum amount the employer may repay
Some companies have matching programs, so you have to pay a certain amount to get the maximum benefit.
If you’re looking for a job and you have student loan debt, consider whether potential employers that offer student loan repayment assistance. It’s a powerful benefit that can help you make your decision.