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PROSERVICE BLOG

4 Reasons Why Companies Offer Student Loan Repayment Assistance

by Michelle Leon-Guerrero | October 23, 2018

As a leader in human resources at your organization, you’re always looking for ways to better serve and engage your employees. After all, engaged employees are happier and more productive. In fact, Gallup reports that “companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.”

But they’re many benefits and perks to choose from, and it can be hard to figure out what’s truly going to improve your employees’ lives, engage them in the workplace, and ultimately keep them with your company longer.

That’s why many companies are adding student loan repayment assistance (sometimes called SLRA) to their benefits and rewards programs. SLRA can help to improve an employees' financial health, support reducing stress, increase productivity, and build trust and loyalty with your company that can impact employee retention as well.

Wondering if SLRA is right for your organization? Here’s 4 reasons why your company should offer student loan repayment assistance.

1. Your employees are likely struggling with student debt

Student loan debt is rampant in the United States and Hawaii is no exception. According to the New York Federal Reserve, 44.2 million Americans have debt from student loans. Amounts owed are substantial as well. According to Make Lemonade, the average student loan debt for the graduating class of 2016 is $37,172.

This means that your employees–especially those in younger generations–are likely facing staggering amounts of debt. This debt not only affects where your employees’ paychecks wind up. It also affects other important decisions, such as how much to put in a retirement account, and when to buy a home. Student loan debt guides many important decisions, and can often distract them from making meaningful contributions at work.

2. They will stay longer if they receive assistance 

Employees that stay at your company for a short time cost your organization substantial time and resources. According to studies by Society for Human Resource Management, when an employee leaves, it costs a business about 6-9 months of their salary.

One of the biggest benefits to offering student loan repayment assistance is that employees who take advantage of the benefit are likely to stay longer at your company. According to an ASA survey, 86% of employees would work for you for five years if you helped pay down their student loans.

Any benefit that boosts retention should be closely considered, as the average millennial employee plans to stay at their job for less than three years, according to the Future Workplace.

3. Student loan repayment is a preferred benefit 

Today’s organizations can offer a variety of different benefits to employees. Indeed, many turn to perks like free food, gym memberships, and other workplace enhancements to attract, engage, and retain employees.

However, student loan repayment assistance is preferred over other benefits and perks. In fact, student loan repayment assistance is 11x more attractive to employees than gym memberships, according to a benefit preferences study conducted by Peanut Butter.

SLRAStat

4. It's relatively easy to implement

Thanks to new technologies and programs offered by companies, including ProService Hawaii, student loan repayment assistance programs can be easy to implement. These repayment programs offer:

  • Easy set up for employers. Employers can integrate their student loan repayment programs with payroll, so there’s no messy paperwork or complicated billing.
  • Seamless enrollment for employees. These systems are extremely easy and seamless for employees to use.
  • Flexible contribution amounts. Employers can choose how much to contribute to individual employees. Often, employers offer more assistance based on how long an employee has been with the organization.

The positive effects of student loan repayment 

Student loan repayment assistance is one of the most attractive benefits you can offer, especially in a world where workers are saddled with large amounts of debt.

These programs are designed to reduce turnover among workers of all ages and engage your highly-qualified workers by improving their financial wellbeing, ultimately giving them more headspace to focus on their work. By choosing to assist employees with their debt, you can set yourself apart from other employers competing for the same college-educated talent and gain the trust and loyalty of your employees to become an employer of choice. 

Michelle Leon-Guerrero

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Leon-Guerrero currently serves as ProService Hawaii's Director of Benefits, and has been a dedicated Human Resources, Benefits and Payroll professional for 15 years. Her passion for developing and leading our talented team of benefits professionals helps to serve all of ProService's clients and their employees. As Director of Benefits, Michelle is responsible for overseeing Healthcare Administration, Voluntary Benefits Administration, 401k Retirement Plan Administration, Benefits Systems and Technology, and Annual and Client Open Enrollment. Michelle holds a Bachelor's of Science with a Travel Industry Management focus in Hospitality, and a Master's of Business Administration with a focus on Human Resource Management, both from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Michelle is also well-versed in Union Labor and Relations.

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