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Originally Published: Jan 26, 2022
Originally Published: Jan 26, 2022 Last Updated: Jan 27, 2022 9 min read
Illustration of an employer's hand giving money to a student employee inside their graduation cap
Money, Getty Images

Millions of debt-ridden college graduates want help paying off their student loans. This year, they may just get it from their employers.

While a growing number of companies have started offering student loan repayment as an employee benefit in recent years, the combination of a new tax break, stiff competition for workers and heightened attention on the nation's growing student debt could drive a big boost in the benefit this year.

About a third of companies say they're considering introducing student loan repayment assistance in 2022 or 2023, with 3% already planning a roll out this year, according to a study from the insurance firm Willis Towers Watson. Plus, companies with existing programs are improving the benefit through larger contributions and wider parameters for eligibility, experts say.

That sort of growth could take what has been a relatively niche benefit — it's currently offered at less than one in 10 companies — and bring it into the mainstream.

Employer student loan contributions are getting bigger

The value of a student loan repayment benefit varies by industry, but in general, companies are being more generous with their monthly contributions.

Gregory Poulin is co-founder and CEO of Goodly, a student loan benefits provider and fintech company based in San Francisco. Among Goodly's clients, the average employer contribution toward student loans has increased by around 50% since the pandemic hit, he says. Before the pandemic, companies typically contributed an average of about $83 a month toward each employee's student loans. That figure is closer to $150 today and the largest payments can go as high as $400, Poulin says.