Student loan repayment as an employee benefit had a breakout year in 2019. With outstanding student loan debt topping $1.6 trillion for the first time in 2019, employers increasingly recognized the crippling impact student loan debt has on their employee population and began implementing student loan benefits in record numbers over the last twelve months. As we kick off 2020, here’s a look back at the top 5 student loan benefit stories of 2019.
Student loan repayment is the hottest employee benefit.
The year kicked off with Greg Poulin, co-founder and CEO of student loan benefits provider Goodly, predicting student loan repayment would rank as “2019's most in-demand employee benefit.” Writing in BenefitsPro, Poulin made the case that as student loan debt continues to explode in the US, adding student loan benefits would become an imperative for employers to recruit and retain top talent in 2019.
“If you want to attract top talent—and retain millennial employees—consider adding student loan repayment to your benefits package through a third party vendor. In terms of most desirable benefits, according to the Harvard Business Review, student loan assistance ranks fairly high, only beat out by better health insurance and perks like flexible hours and vacation time.”
Looking for help improving employee retention? In his conclusion, Poulin notes that “86 percent of employees will commit five years to a company in exchange for student loan repayment help.”
Read more of “Student Loan Repayment: 2019’s Most In-Demand Employee Benefit” in BenefitsPro.
The student loan repayment benefits market is ‘blowing up.’
As employers sought ways to curb financial stress associated with student loan debt for their employees in 2019, they increasingly turned to student loan benefits as the top voluntary benefit to implement throughout the year.
Speaking about employers stepping up to offer student loan repayment benefits at the Employee Benefit Adviser’s Workplace Benefits Mania conference in July, director of worksite practice with M3 Insurance, Katie Ott noted “That market is blowing up.” Ott went on to conclude her remarks by highlighting the explosive growth student loan benefits would not be slowing down anytime soon: “Student loan repayment is a burgeoning trend.”
Learn more about how the student loan benefit market is “blowing up” in Employee Benefit News.
Millennial and Gen Z job seekers value help with student loan repayment over all other employee benefits.
In the American Institute of CPA's annual employee benefits survey, young adult job seekers between the ages of 18-35 were asked to make a choice between paying down their student loan debt versus providing an equal amount of money towards another benefit. The findings? In all cases respondents chose more money going towards student loan debt repayment, ahead of 401k match and even health insurance:
Looking to hire gen z and millennials in 2020? Consider adding student loan repayment to your benefits package this year. Employers can read a summary of the findings from the American Institute of CPA's here.
Student loan benefits emerge as the top new benefit for employers to add during open enrollment.
In Employee Benefit Adviser’s annual Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark (OERB) survey, sponsored by ADP, student loan repayment benefits came out as the top new employee benefit employers were looking to add in 2019. The report released by Employee Benefit Adviser found "Student loan programs are the number one new benefit that companies are planning to start providing to their employees during their open enrollment period this year."
The complete results of the Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark survey from Employee Benefit Adviser and ADP can be found here.
The number of employers offering student loan benefits doubled in 2019.
In the 2019 edition of it’s Employee Benefits Survey, The Society for Human Resources Management found that “Company-provided student-loan repayment benefits have risen from 4 percent in 2018 to 8 percent in 2019.” That figure is expected to grow to 32% of all US employers by 2021, according to employee benefits firm Willis Towers Watson
Alex Alonso, SHRM-SCP, chief knowledge officer for SHRM, noted the rapid growth of student loan benefits is attributed, in part, to “Finding the right combination of benefits that appeals to a multigenerational workforce.”
The full summary of SHRM’s 2019 Employee Benefits Survey can be found here.
Student loan benefits are on track for another record year in 2020. Interested in seeing how Goodly can support your employees with student loan repayment benefits? Please request additional information from Goodly by reaching out to [email protected] or by scheduling a demo of Goodly’s student loan benefit platform here.
You can reach Greg Poulin, CEO of Goodly, by email at [email protected].