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The Best Corporate Benefit in 2017? Student Loan Forgiveness

Some companies have set up a progressive program to help their employees pay off their student loans, offering up to $10,000 in assistance over the course of employment.
US student debt reached USD 1 trillion on April 25, 2012, and has continued to rise. (Photo credit Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Some companies have setup a program to help their employees pay off their student loans. Only a few are participating at this time, but the ones who are, are offering up to $10,000 in assistance over the course of employment.

So, which companies are giving away money to help their employees repay their student loans? Forbes recently highlighted 10 companies, which include Fidelity, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Aetna, Penguin Random House, and more. But out of the 10 featured in the piece, the Society for Human Resource Management estimates this latest perk is only being offered by 4 percent of companies. However, like flexible vacation time, 401Ks, and health care, many are predicting this will be the “hottest employee benefit of 2017.”

A piece in Time, discussing Penguin Random House’s announcement to adopt this benefit found many companies may not be implementing a plan quite yet, but they are shopping:

“Gradifi, which will administer the benefit for Penguin Random House, says it has 20 companies on its platform now, but more [than] 700 have inquired about it in the past year. The company is adding five to 10 new employers a month, CEO Tim DeMello says.”

It’s important to note that employer payments to a student loan account are still considered income, so there will be taxes on the benefit. Some companies may require an employee to work there for one year before providing this benefit, which may be to help increase worker retention.

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Still, this plan will benefit the nearly 70 percent of graduates leaving college with some amount of debt. It also provides a benefit to companies by increasing their applicant pool and giving them a competitive edge in hiring college graduates.


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