- Most (92%) of U.S. employers offer educational benefits, according to a survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). The most common include tuition assistance/reimbursement (63%), in-house training seminars (61%), attendance at educational conferences (51%), continuing education courses (50%), coverage for licensing courses and exams (44%), personal development courses (35%), and 529 college savings plans (10%).
- Organizations use different techniques for reimbursing student employees. The majority (87%) reimburse after the end of study. The most common reimbursement amount to employees is $5,000 to $5,999, foundation researchers said. More than half of organizations (54%) have a payback requirement if the employee leaves within one year of gaining his or her education. But employee use of the programs is low, with only 1% to 5% of employees taking advantage of employer-provided tuition reimbursement, IFEBP reported.
- The top five barriers to organizations considering offering student loan repayment benefits are high costs; uncertainty and complexity of implementation; resentment among employees who are done paying off their student loans already; resentment among employees who are in loan debt but ineligible for benefits; and employee turnover after requirements for repayment have been met, the report concluded.
Almost 80% of workers with student loan debt would like their employer to offer a loan payment benefit, according to a 2018 study. And there are many ways to help employees in this area. The IRS recently approved an employer's plan to contribute to the 401(k)s of employees who were making payments to their student loans.
Large employers like PwC aren't the only ones offering some variation on student debt benefits, either; about one-third of job candidates report some form of student debt benefit offered by employers they've met with. Employers might choose to contribute to principal loan payments or give workers the option to trade in unused PTO for loan relief.
Only about 4 to 5% of U.S. companies currently offer student-loan repayment assistance, according to research from B2B research and ratings firm Clutch. However, 23% of the respondents to the foundation study said they are considering implementing student loan repayment benefits in the future. HR pros considering the benefit should decide what option best suits their workers and budgets.
Money problems cause U.S. workers significant stress, studies continue to show. A 2017 study from the Center for Financial Services Innovation found that 1 in 3 workers are distracted at work because of money problems. College graduates are entering the workforce with massive student loan debt, fewer workers are able to save enough for retirement, and women and other marginalized groups still face pay gaps.