With nearly 70% of college graduates leaving school with student loan debt, the idea of adding student loan assistance to employee benefit packages is starting to become a reality for companies who want to attract top talent.
Take for example startup firm, LendEDU in Mountain View, California. Started 18 months ago by Nate Matherson and Matt Lenhard, LendEDU is an online marketplace that helps graduates find the lowest student loan refinancing quotes. Recently, the company announced that they will offer all of their employees $200 per month to help with paying student loan debt.
“Student loans are our core business, so it made sense for us to implement it in our employee benefit package,” Matherson tells BlackEnterprise.com.
Matherson says the idea to help employees pay off their student loans was inspired by global consulting and accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who announced that this July they will offer their employees up to $1,200 a year, for up to six years, towards paying off their student loans. While LendEDU’s six-member employee base is drastically smaller than PwC, the firm is looking to more than double their staff within the coming months.
“We are very much a startup and hiring people can be challenging, but this is a way to make us more attractive to new hires,” says Matherson.
LendEDU’s new employee benefit is offered to all current and incoming employees at the company and will be taxed as additional income. However, Matherson is hoping that a new bill introduced by Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA), called the Student Tax Affordability and Relief Act, will be passed to help exclude gross income amounts paid by an employer on an employee’s student loans.
“We hope that Congress will seriously consider H.R. 4363, the bill just makes too much sense for employees and employers,” says Matherson. “If approved, I expect many more employers to seriously consider adding student loan repayment assistance as a benefit.”