This article also appeared in Forbes.
If your company only offers a 401(k), health insurance and a flexible vacation schedule, then you’re missing out on the hottest employee benefit of 2017: student loan repayment assistance.
To attract and retain millennials, in particular, companies are expanding their employee benefit programs to help reduce student loan debt for their employees. Millennials are heeding the call.
In the 2015 American Student Assistance survey, 76% of respondents said that if a prospective employer offered a student loan repayment benefit, it would be a deciding or contributing factor to accept the job.
While only 4% of companies currently offer such a benefit, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, and employees are typically responsible for income taxes on the assistance received, expect this percentage to increase in the coming year.
Here are 10 trailblazing companies that will help you pay off your student loans faster in 2017:
Employees at the manager level and below of this leading financial services company are eligible to receive up to $2,000 per year (up to $10,000 total) toward repayment of their student loans. The “Step Ahead Student Loan Assistance” benefit also provides employees with online tools to help them better manage their student loan debt. Fidelity estimates that approximately 25% of its employees have student loan debt. Fidelity uses the assistance of a third party employee benefit platform, Tuition.io, to send payments directly to each employee’s lender. Another positive: since the student loan benefit is paid monthly, an employee who leaves Fidelity does not have to repay the benefit.
2. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
The global accounting and consulting firm offers associates and senior associates up to $1,200 per year up to $7,200 toward an employee’s student loan debt. PwC is working with Gradifi, an employee benefit platform, to assist with its student loan repayment plan.
This healthcare company offers up to $2,000 in matching student loan payments (up to $10,000) for full-time employees and $1,000 (up to $5,000) for part-time employees. To qualify, an employee must have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree within three years of applying for the program.
4. Penguin Random House
Penguin Random House is the first book publishing company to offer student loan repayment assistance. Penguin Random House will pay $1,200 per year (up to $9,000) in student loan repayment benefits for any full-time employee who has worked at the company at least one year. Gradifi is administering the student loan benefit.
The global asset management company offers $1,000 per year (up to $10,000) to any full-time employee with a federal or private student loan. “Today’s student loan burden is tomorrow’s underfunded retirement problem, so it is imperative for companies to join with policymakers, educators and employees to address this critical issue,” said John Hailer, CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management in the Americas and Asia, in a statement.
The technology company offers its full-time and part-time employees up to $6,000 per year (up to $30,000) in student loan repayment benefits. Nvidia will pay the lesser of $500 and the employee’s required total monthly student loan payment amount. The program covers both federal and private loans. To be eligible, employees must work at the company for at least three months and have graduated within the last three years.
7. First Republic
The private bank and wealth management company provides its employees with a tiered student loan repayment benefit. During the employee’s first year of employment, the employee receives $1,200 toward student loan repayment. During the second year, the student loan repayment benefit increases to $1,800. Thereafter, the student loan repayment benefit increases to $2,400 per year. There is no lifetime cap on the student loan repayment benefit. Both full-time and part-time employees are eligible, as are employees who have borrowed an educational loan on behalf of their child.
The education and technology company offers both full-time and part-time employees up to $1,000 annually to help repay their student loans. There is no cap on the amount of student loan repayment that employees can receive. Like Fidelity, Chegg partnered with Tuition.io to administer the student loan repayment benefit.
9. Powertex Group
The design company offers its employees $1,200 per year to repay their student loans, and expects approximately 25% of its employees to enroll in the program. Like PwC and Penguin Random House, Powertex is working with Gradifi to administer the benefit.
The retailer helps full-time sales associates repay their student loans with $1,200 per year (up to $3,600).
Expect this benefit to spread to other companies that want to recruit and retain a loyal employee base. It’s employee-centric. It’s forward-thinking. It’s solution-oriented.
And it’s one step in the right direction to help address a $1.3 trillion issue affecting over 40 million borrowers.