The bar for company perks is pretty low when you first start working. Standard vacation days, a solid healthcare package, and a few summer Fridays can rock a worker's world.
To make themselves more competitive with prospective employees, some companies are starting to tackle one of the biggest issues millennials are facing today: student loans. Offering student loan repayment as workplace benefit is smart: Any number of employees would trade a debt check over kitchen snacks or recreational activities.
"When you look at the way that companies are adopting benefits these days, you see a lot of people doing things like offering free lunches, beer, and ping pong tables," says Gradifi CMO Meera Oliva. "[But] for people who have it, student loan debt is something that weighs on them very heavily and prevents them from moving onto other life milestones, so this is a really impactful benefit that employers can offer."
Gradifi works with companies that want to implement this benefit facilitate monthly payments from employers directly to employees' student loan debt. So, say an employer decides to contributes $100 to their employees' loan burdens: that $100 is paid directly to the principle each month, helping to pay down the principle faster and reducing the interest that is capitalizing on the loan.
Whether you're graduating soon and are trying to find a financial head-start (or perhaps you're keeping a careful eye on enticing companies for a job switch), here are some of the businesses currently offering this awesome perk:
The publishing house offers $100/month up to $9,000 (over seven and a half years) to both full- and part-time workers.
Offers $10,000 on a tiered system over five years of employment: $100/month in year one; $125/month in year two; $150/month in year three; $175/month in year four, and $200/month in year five. By the end of that fifth year, employees have received $9,000 worth of contributions — and then you get a $1,000 bonus payment.
Oliva says what she likes about Connelly's program in particular is that "from an employee standpoint, if the average amount of student loan debt is $30,000, $10,000 is hugely impactful." And from Connelly’s standpoint, she adds, the contribution structure rewards long-time employees in a way that's much more tangible than bragging rights.
The entertainment company will match employee contributions of up to $100/month, up to $6,000. (Employees must have worked at Live Nation for at least six months to qualify.)
The retailer will pay $100/month toward the principle on the loans of "high potential" employees, up to 36 months.
The bank also has a tiered system with Gradifi: $100/month ($1,200 per year) in the first year of employment; up to $150/month ($1,800 per year) in the second year; up to $200/month ($2,400 per year) in the third year up until the loans are paid off.
The healthcare company offers up to $2,000/year (up to $10,000) for qualifying loans. All full- and part-time (20 hours a week or more) Aetna employees are eligible for the program. (Part-time employees will receive a match up to $1,000 a year with a lifetime maximum of $5,000.)
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