More companies consider helping workers pay off student loans

A big factor is that under the federal government’s pandemic relief programs enacted in 2020, employers can take tax exemption their employee loan repayment contribution is up to $5,250 a year until 2025. Employees pay no income tax on this benefit. (Previously, unlike student tuition grants for employees applying for college, contributions to repay loans were taxable.)

McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, Mich., is one of a number of employers that have added direct assistance benefits. Todd Burch, chairman and chief executive officer of McLaren Northern, said the hospital started offering student loan aid this month, along with two other hospitals in its health system.

It has become especially difficult to keep nurses, said Mr. Burch, as they are increasingly able to work with lucrative mobile jobs such as travel nurse. “We are looking for unique services to recruit and retain top talent,” he said.

Benefits available to all employees after they have worked at the hospital for six months and pay $200 a month for the first year, $300 monthly for the second year and $400 monthly for the fifth year three, with a maximum benefit of $12,000. (Benefits are prorated for part-timers.) 91 employees have applied for benefits.

McLaren works with Good, a startup that manages student loan payment benefits for companies. Workers submit their loan information to Goodly, which verifies the worker’s eligibility and transfers payments from the employer to the lender.

Esker, a software company with headquarters in Wisconsin USA, started offering this benefit in 2019. The company often hires workers directly from universities, so education loans are often is a concern, said Anne Donarski, the company’s chief financial and administrative officer.

“We know student debt is becoming a growing burden,” she said.

Employees are eligible from the first day of employment, but the contribution will increase with their time at the company – from $100 a month at the start, up to $150 a month, payable in 5 years. The company has about 200 employees, and 55 benefit users. Esker has so far paid about $186,000 in loan assistance, Donarski said. More companies consider helping workers pay off student loans

Fry Electronics Team

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