Roughly 70% of college students graduate with student loan debt from obtaining their bachelor’s degree. For those who graduate with a significant amount of debt, it can be difficult to find a job in their chosen profession that pays enough to both live comfortably and make progress toward their student loan debt reduction.
Employers, especially those in white collar fields such as accounting, are starting to recognize that most of their college hires are saddled with high student loan debt and would benefit immensely from employer-sponsored repayment assistance programs.
This type of program is now a hot benefit and can draw in skilled employees looking for a faster way to pay down their loans. These days, it is possible to find employer-sponsored programs providing repayment assistance to employees of up to $250 or more per month.
If you are lucky enough to work for a company that offers this sort of benefit, the repayment assistance can take a chunk out of your student loan debt. The assistance programs found at various companies can vary immensely, however, with different companies offering a wide range of monthly assistance options as well as some putting caps on the length of the repayment programs. An increasing number of CPA firms are now including this employee perk, offering some sort of repayment assistance.
Ion Tuition Survey
In a recent survey conducted by IonTuition, roughly 80% of respondents said they would prefer to work for a company that offers student loan repayment assistance. This shows a new tendency to prioritize this benefit over others.
The survey polled 1,000 student loan borrowers to find out their top priorities in a potential employer. The respondents made it clear that today’s employees are searching for help with their mounting student loan debt. This is particularly true for younger workers and those starting a second career after going back to college. The fact that 80% of those surveyed would like employer-sponsored repayment help equates to roughly 30 million Americans looking for this perk
CPA Firms Begin to Offer Repayment Benefits
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has a repayment assistance program for employees offering up to $1,200 per year toward student loan debt payments. Although only a small number of CPA firms currently also offer this benefit, employers are quickly realizing that the younger demographic of employees see a benefit such as student loan repayment as more enticing than some other traditional benefits. In fact, offering this type of program has become a strong marketing tool for PwC and other firms throughout the country.
There are many reasons why you should consider finding a firm that offers you employer-sponsored student loan repayment assistance.
The first is obvious: You will pay down your debt in a fraction of the time! However, there are more less obvious reasons to seek out this type of employer. Consider that firms who offer this sort of benefit are consciously making an investment in their employees. They have listened to the desires of college graduates and are proactively responding. This speaks to the employer’s investment in their employees and is undoubtedly the type of firm we all strive to work for and emulate. Student loan repayment assistance programs give an insight into firm culture and the role the company takes in supporting the financial health of its employees.
Student Loan Repayment – the New Healthcare?
One day, student loan repayment assistance might become as common as health care or retirement benefits. Some studies indicate that for those in their 20s and 30s, repayment of student loans is a more desirable financial goal than saving for retirement. This makes sense when one considers how far off retirement is for that demographic and how pressing an additional monthly payment for student loan debt can be.
Paying off high-interest loans is a worthy goal that should usually come before aggressively saving for retirement.
Searching for employment opportunities where loan repayment assistance is available will increase the rate at which higher interest debt is paid back and pave the way for saving toward retirement.
This guest post was by Jacob who runs his own personal finance blog over at Dollar Diligence. Through meticulously watching his money and extreme frugality, he was able to pay down over $25k in student loan debt in just 15 months. You can learn more about his story and follow him here.