How to Convince Your Employer to Help Pay off Your Student Loans | Smart Change: Personal Finance

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Recent headlines have identified student loan repayment assistance as one of the hottest new job trends.

But in the more than five years since big companies like Aetna and Fidelity began helping their employees pay off their student debts, an estimated 8% of companies still offer the benefit, according to a Willis Towers Watson survey.

What if you work for the other 92%? As with any part of your compensation package (or life), just asking for what you want can be helpful. The result could have a bigger impact than you think.

“We have employers who tell us someone came and spoke to them,” said Romy Parzick, CEO of Vault, who manages educational support services for 1,500 customers. “And that ignited the benefits for [the whole company]. “

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Gather your receipts

If your company has a large number of four-year degrees, chances are many of your employees are grappling with debt. Seven out of ten students now borrow and borrow money to pay for their degrees Student debt spans generations: 8.7 million student loan borrowers are over 50 years old.

You can take your research a step further by looking for industry-specific borrowing statistics or even asking your employer to interview employees to measure their debt.

Once your company has highlighted its diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, Parzick says, make sure you point out data that shows how Student debt disproportionately affects black and Latino borrowers and how women hold 60% of all student debt.

At PwC, one of the first large companies to announce its student loan payment program back in 2015, corporate leaders have to say That 62% of Eligible Black Employees and 52% of Eligible Latino Employees participate in the benefit, a higher percentage than either White or Asian Eligible Employees. The consulting firm, which pays up to $ 1,200 a year in student loans for eligible employees, had more than 16,000 employees signing up for the benefit in the first five years of its inception.

Sell ​​it as a profit – not just as an employee

Once you’ve proven that student loan assistance will help the staff, it’s time to argue that this is a good business decision, too.

Benefits are widely recognized as an important part of employee recruitment and retention. So focus on that, says Virginia Adams, senior HR knowledge advisor at the Society for Human Resources Management.

Around a quarter of the employees surveyed in a recent improvement opinion poll said they would quit their current job for a job offering student loan assistance. The proportion jumps to about half if you look at Generation Z employees alone.

In the case of Nebraska Medicine, a hospital chain based in the Omaha area that provides bedside nurses with student loan assistance, this resulted in a 55 percent increase in employee retention and saved the company $ 5 million in cost of sales. according to Prudentialwho worked with the hospital to shape the service.

Even if you can’t find hard numbers, you can still gather information about which employers in your region or industry are already offering the benefit. (You’ll likely make a healthy list by looking at your competitors’ hiring pages, Adams says).

Finally, make sure your employer (and HR) is up to date on helpful tax policies: $ 5,250 worth from 2020 The student loan repayment aid is considered tax-free for both the employer and the employee. The tax-privileged status runs until 2025.

By refinancing your student loan, you can pay off your student debts early.

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Get behind your boss’s back

OK, we’re there with a wink. However, if you are not comfortable reaching out to someone who can introduce this benefit, email one of the service providers that are in the field like Tuition.io, Gradifi, Goodly, and Bright Horizons’ EdAssist.

Although Vault makes business-to-business sales, Parzick says it’s not uncommon for individuals to email their company and say, “Hey, how do I get this benefit in my workplace? Can you help?’

Upon receiving one of these emails, the Vault sales force will contact the company in question and inform the company that an (unnamed) employee has contacted them. Your team has found that some type of cold contact is much more likely to result in a callback than one without a request from an agent.

“That’s an interesting indicator of how much value employers place on what their employees are looking for,” she says.

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