Health insurance, life insurance, paid vacation, and even matching 401k used to be the ideal employee benefits when graduates entered the workforce. Now with student loan debt averaging $37,000 for all new college graduates, a major shift in desirable benefits is seen with the rising student loan debt crisis.

Student Loan Debt Statistics

The American student loan debt balance totals over $1.5 trillion—a balance that includes recent graduates and borrowers who graduated years (even decades) ago. The standard repayment term for most graduates is 10 years; however, this timetable is realistically double for nearly 60% of graduates.

In addition, the Federal Reserve recently reported that there is nearly 7 million student loan borrowers who are between the ages of 40 and 49. Collectively, they owe about $230 billion of the total student loan debt—that’s over $30k of student loan debt still present for borrowers in the 40s.

The numbers are outrageous considering where they were at a mere 20 years ago—with only $90 billion in total student loan debt across the nation. If you think that’s bad—read up more about how the growing student loan debt is affecting the economy.

How Employers Can Help Fight The Growing Student Loan Crisis

Employers are beginning to consider their responsibility in their employees’ student loan debt. Considering the debt is there in order to qualify the employee to work for the employer, many of the top name companies are beginning to offer some sort of student loan debt reprieve. In addition, it being a good practice morally and ethically, there are many other benefits employers receive when offering student loan relief options to their employees.

Here are some of the most well-known companies who offer student loan debt relief services to their employees:

  1. Fidelity

As a major financial service company, Fidelity understands the impact student loans can have on an employees’ financial goals. Under their “Step Ahead Student Loan Assistance”, employees at or below managerial levels can qualify for up to $2,000 annually (up to $10k total) to pay towards their student loans. The benefit is dispersed monthly and if an employee leaves, they are not required to repay the financial assistance given.

  1. Aetna

Similar to Fidelity, Aetna also offers up to $2,000 for all full-time employees. They also have student loan relief options for part-time employees as well—up to $1,000.

  1. Penguin Random House

The first book publishing company to consider student loan relief services as an employee benefit. They offer full-time employees who have been with the company for one year or longer $1,200 each year—up to $9,000.

  1. PricewaterhouseCoopers

PwC is a global accounting and consulting firm who offers associates and senior associates student loan debt assistance; providing up to $1,200 per year (capping the benefit at $7,200).

  1. Staples

This major retailer also provides student loan relief services for full-time employees. Staples offers up to $1,200 per year for 3 years to help employees pay off some of their student loans.

While this list is not all-inclusive, many employers are beginning to recognize the benefit of assisting their employees with their student loan debt. Learn why you should help your employees become debt free and talk to a student loan benefit advisor at the Student Loan Advisory Group to determine an employee benefits package that suits your company’s culture and mission.