Student loans can dampen the ability of new grads to get on their feet financially, causing stress at home and at work. According to Student Loan Hero, the graduating class of 2016 had an average student loan balance of $37,172 — up six percent from the year before.
While it’s daunting to see that number rise, the good news is that, in an effort to recruit and retain the best hires, a growing number of employers have started programs to help employees pay back those hefty student loans. Here are a few of those companies helping workers get out of debt.
In April 2015, tutoring and study services company Chegg announced its college loan reduction plan for full-time employees in partnership with Tuition.IO, a company that provides a web-based platform for tracking and managing student loan payments. This benefit has an annual cap of $1,000 (less taxes), but has no cap on the total amount an employee can receive.
ChowNow has found this perk so useful in hiring talent that the company decided to double it from when it first started offering it to employees. The Los Angeles-based online food ordering company has an employer-paid student loan assistance program that matches up to $1,000 a year of employee payments.
Since December 2016, this lending marketplace platform has been granting $100 per month to its employees to pay down student loans. While CommonBond limits the perk at $1,200 per year, the company continues helping its employees until they fully pay off their student loans. Employees also have the option to refinance their student loans with CommonBond. On average, student borrowers save over $14,000 when refinancing through CommonBond, according to the company.
4. Credit Suisse
The financial services company doesn’t offer a lump sum benefit to its employees, but instead provides a 0.25 percent discount on interest rates to workers that refinance their student loans with online lender SoFi.
5. Connelly Partners
Boston-based ad agency Connelly Partners works with Gradifi to offer a student loan repayment plan that improves the longer the employee stays with the company. Like a 401(k) plan, the agency matches up to $100 per month of its employees’ debt payments. Employees who stick around for at least six months receive a $1,000 student loan payment bonus. Those who work for the company for five years receive another $1,000 bonus for the sixth year.
6. Fidelity Investments
The financial services firm makes an annual $2,000 direct payment to employees’ student loan servicers, up to a total of $10,000. If your career with Fidelity requires you to continue your education, then Fidelity will reimburse you 90 percent of qualifying costs (up to $10,000 per year) of a work-related degree or certification program. You must have worked for the company for at least six months to qualify.
Based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, the workforce management software provider has partnered with solutions provider Student Loan Genius to pay up to $500 per year to help employees pay down student debt.
Since February 2016, the online marketplace for student loan financing has paid $2,400 per year ($200 per month) to employees with student loan debt.