Today, over 44 million Americans hold a collective student loan debt of roughly $1.5 trillion with an average monthly payment of $351. Even though many are suffering under the weight of this financial burden, only about 4% of employers offer student loan repayment as an employee benefit. According to a recent poll by Self Lender, however, 60% of Americans with student loan debt would be willing to give part of their existing benefits package for help with their student loans.
Sacrifices for student loan assistance
Of those polled, nearly a quarter were willing to give up working from home for student loan assistance. The next most popular benefit that employees were willing to exchange for student loan assistance was 401k matching, which highlights the prevalence of student loan debt in the minds of employees. While 401k matching may actually save employees more than student loan benefits in the long term in some cases, employees with tuition debt are not able to give enough thought to retirement savings while they are still paying off loans.
Stress impact of student loan debt
Student loan debt can causes stress, negatively affect credit scores, and keep people financially immature. While employers have an opportunity to alleviate some the stress and promote financial wellness for their workers, most still are not offering any form of loan repayment. As the new year gets underway, it is clear that employers should be reconsidering their benefits packages in order to attract and retain top talent.