Benefits in the News: Student Loan Repayment Benefits Have Doubled

Young professional studying for a degree using student loan repayment

Student loan repayment benefits are on the rise! 

Such is the latest from SHRM showing what employers are offering their people. 

“Company provided student loan repayments,” says SHRM’s 2019 Employee Benefits report, “have doubled since 2018.”

Financial Wellness for the Employee…and the Organization

It makes sense. Money worries sink productivity. And college debt is one of employees’ biggest sources of financial concern. How do those worries play out?

According to John Hancock’s Financial Stress Survey

  • 69% of employees are stressed over finances
  • 72% admit to worrying about personal finances while at work
  • Companies are losing $2,000 per employee as a result 

Met Life further estimates a 10,000-employee company to lose nearly $30,000every week

Getting the Full Rewards

Tangible payments toward employee’s debt are more than symbolic. Paying $2,000 annually toward the principal on a $20,000, five-year student loan will cut the payoff time in half, wrote Alan Robins. Plus, “Over five years, that annual $2,000 payment will cut interest by $2,800, giving your $10,000 investment a 28% bump. That's a significant impact.” 

They also do more than dispatch loans – it creates a domino effect. Shortened payoff time increases disposable income, and so frees people to contribute to retirement – another one of the money worries on their list. And don’t forget the braggability factor – “My company is paying my student loans!” – that can’t be overstated.

Still, to be effective, student loan repayment benefits need to do more than just pay down debt; they have to give people confidence in their own ability to pay down their share, too. That’s where financial coaching comes in – something that should be a standard part of any program. 

But the trajectory is clear. “Student loan repayment is a burgeoning trend,” one benefits administrator said at a conference recently. 

“That market is blowing up.” 

Young professional learning new computer skills

The State of Education Benefits Report

The New Benchmarks for Tuition Assistance and Student Loan Programs

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

August 1, 2019

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.