Americans of all ages are grappling with student debt, and it only seems to be getting worse by the day. U.S. borrowers are now on the hook for over $1.5 trillion in student loans, and Americans owe more in educational debt than they do in credit card and auto debt combined.
But employers may be able to help. Though only a small percentage of companies offer student loan repayment assistance at present, an estimated 23% are considering such programs, as per a new report by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.
If your company has been on the fence about kick-starting such a program, it pays to move that idea forward. You'd effectively be pioneering a workplace perk that many workers only dream about. And that, in turn, could benefit your company in more ways than one.
The case for helping workers pay off student debt
In today's competitive job market, attracting and retaining talent can be a challenge. But if you're willing to offer some form of assistance on student loan repayment, you may have an easier time getting new hires to join your team, all the while hanging on to your most valued current employees. Furthermore, student loan repayment assistance could help boost employee satisfaction and morale. And when that happens, you're apt to get more from your existing staff.
Another thing to consider is that student debt is a major source of stress for Americans young and old, and helping to alleviate it might help your workers to better concentrate on their jobs. The result? An uptick in productivity, and better results for your business.
Working through the kinks
You can't just snap your fingers and implement a student loan repayment assistance program overnight. In fact, there are several barriers you might encounter.
For one thing, there's the cost. You'll need to figure out how much you can afford to allocate to such a program, and whether such a benefit will come at the cost of other perks.
You'll also need to decide how you'll implement such a program. Will it be available for new hires immediately? Will employees be required to commit to staying for a certain period of time once they're given money for their outstanding debt? And how much money will your company actually be providing for these purposes? These are all questions you'll need to ask before moving forward.
Additionally, you may encounter some resistance from employees who have been working for you for years and were forced to repay their student debt without help. You'll need to figure out how to appease them.
Still, it pays to consider student loan repayment assistance because it's sure to help your business stand out. And in today's market, that's hard to put a price on.