Today’s job market can be difficult, especially for those without a college degree. So, the question has grown; should employers help their workers pay back their student loan debt? Here’s a deeper look at what is becoming the newest employee perk.
This piece was originally published at Forbes.
As young people continue to enter the workforce already weighed down by high amounts of student debt, some companies are taking notice. By offering initiatives to help their employees manage and pay back their loans, they relieve some of that strain (and become a more attractive place to work in turn).
Here’s why this matters, the benefits these programs can have for employees and their employers, and how some companies are currently offering student-loan-related benefits.
Why Student Loan Assistance Matters
In America, student-loan debt has reached critical levels in the past decade. “The average cost of a college education has increased by 1300% since 1971, far outpacing inflation or wage growth,” says Leigh Gross, vice president of business development at CommonBond. “At the same time, the pressure to obtain a bachelor’s or graduate degree to achieve career success has only gotten stronger.”
For many, it’s the classic “rock or a hard place” scenario: either take on debt to get an education and a well-paying job, or avoid debt and work in fields that don’t require a degree but often have less career-advancement opportunities.
Young people who choose the college route must “take out larger loans to pay for school and access job opportunities,” Gross continues. “And these are loans that they often spend the better part of their careers paying off. The good news is, companies are increasingly becoming more cognizant of this student debt crisis and want to be part of the solution.” …