Student loan repayment to become 2017’s hottest employee benefit

Posted at 12:14 PM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 12:14:11-05

Forget health insurance and retirement funds, 2017 is set to see student loan repayments become the next best employee benefit.

Companies across America woo employees with many attractive perks. These range from comprehensive health insurance to flexible vacation schedules and 401(k) retirement investments. But, in a bid to lure and retain millennials, many firms are turning to a newer benefit: student loan repayment assistance.

Data from the 2015 American Student Assistance survey revealed that 76 percent of respondents admitted a deciding factor in choosing an employer would be whether the firm in question helped them to pay down their student debt. The Society for Human Resource Management says just 4 percent of businesses are using such initiatives. This is expected to rise significantly during the coming year.

Among the firms already offering such support, Fidelity provides employees at, or below, management level up to $2,000 per year towards their loans, with a maximum of $10,000 in total assistance. It is estimated that around 25 percent of Fidelity staff have student debts at the moment. Healthcare firm Aetna offers similar financial assistance, while technology firm Nvidia provides a maximum of $6,000 per year, up to a total of $30,000 in student loan repayment benefits.

With many Americans battling student debt, gaining such a perk through the workplace could be very attractive. This is particularly true for the younger generations who have more debt than ever, making it harder to achieve other goals, such as owning a car or a home. With more and more companies beginning to realize this, it seems that more student debt relief benefits are set to be offered in 2017.

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