In 2019, just 8% of employers included student loan assistance in their employee benefits packages, according to research from the Society for Human Resource Management. Even that was a big step up from the years prior — double, actually. For three years between 2016-2018, just 4% of employers offered student loan assistance to their workers and in 2015, it was just 3%.
All that changed with the pandemic.
At the end of October 2021, the fourth annual Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Financial Wellbeing Employer Survey revealed that the number had doubled again — more actually — this time from 8% to 17%. In the post-pandemic world, employers who wanted to draw top talent were going to have to make tuition and student loans a priority.
Amazon is easing the debt burden of its employees by eliminating the need for student loans in the first place. Starting in January 2022, Amazon will pay college tuition for most of its 750,000 hourly employees. Not only is the benefits program massive compared to others of its kind, but Amazon switches it up by paying tuition and fees upfront as opposed to paying as a reimbursement.
Healthcare giant Aetna was offering tuition assistance as an employee benefit long before the pandemic brought it into vogue. In the summer of 2016, CVS Health announced that Aetna was matching student loan payments up to $2,000 per year for a maximum of $10,000. Almost exactly five years later in November 2021, CNBC listed Aetna as one of the top companies for student loan assistance as an employee benefit.
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BP’s Educational Assistance Program reimburses employees who qualify for as much as 90% of the costs associated with their educational and vocational courses. BP has offered the program since at least 2004, making the energy giant one of the earliest pioneers.
Austin-based software and services company BP3 made the top 20 of Fortune’s “25 Best Small Workplaces” list in 2020. The company matches $100 per month in student loan payments for one member of each employee’s household.
Being an education tech company, it’s only right and proper that Chegg would have been helping workers pay back their student debt before the pandemic forced the issue. In 2019, Chegg implemented Equity For Education, a program designed to help employees pay their loans while encouraging other companies to do the same. The program has already eliminated $1 million in student debt for Chegg employees.
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Online food ordering system and marketing company ChowNow announced plans to establish a student loan repayment program late in 2015 — back when just 3% of employers were so forward-thinking. Student loan assistance is still one of the company’s top employee benefits
Like ChowNow, marketplace lending platform company CommonBond announced a new student loan repayment benefit in late 2015. The program offered each employee up to $100 every month — $1,200 each year — to help pay down their loans. The benefit lasts until the loan is fully paid off.
In 2016, 2019, and 2021, employees confirmed on Glassdoor that the policy was still in effect and that it remains one of the most popular parts of the company’s benefits package.
Estee Lauder beat the post-pandemic bandwagon to the punch when the cosmetics giant added student loan repayments to its benefits package in 2018. The parent of brands like Clinique and MAC contributes $100 per month up to $10,000 in total.
Fidelity offers its employees the Step Ahead Student Loan Assistance program to help decrease student debt. Step Ahead pays $2,000 per year directly to the companies through which employees have student loans.
The program, which pays up to $10,000 in total, has so far saved 10,000 Fidelity employees $55 million in principal and interest payments for an average of $5,500 per participant.
First Republic Bank introduced its Student Loan Repayment Assistance program in 2016. The program works on a tiered structure that pays $100 per month during the first year of program enrollment, $150 per month during the second year, and $200 per month thereafter until the debt is paid.
Five years later in 2021, and First Republic lists the program as its top benefit, above even the company’s 401k plan.
The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation — aka: Freddie Mac — has a long-term debt-reduction benefits program. The organization contributes up to $9,000 over five years toward its employees’ student loan payments.
Google has long been known for its creative and comprehensive employee benefits, and this case is no different. The search giant includes student reimbursement as part of the “financial wellbeing” section of its benefits plan, which also includes cross-company pay equity analysis and opportunities for equity refresh.
Workforce solutions provider Kronos offers student loan repayment assistance up to $500 a year to help “Kronites” pay off their student loan debt faster. The company also offers continued learning tuition reimbursement for approved educational courses.
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Student loan and student loan refinancing marketplace LendEDU offers its employees $200 per month — $2,400 per year — to help pay student debt. The benefit is open to all employees and can be applied to both principal and interest.
Live Nation is not shy about reminding the world that it was the first major entertainment company in North America to include student loan repayment as part of its employee benefits package in 2017. Since then, Live Nation has saved its employees $4 million in loan payments.
Visual computing technologies company Nvidia offers employees who have graduated within the past three years the ability to apply for reimbursement of up to $6,000 per year to help pay down their student debt. Employees must work at Nvidia for three months prior to application, and they must work at least 20 hours or more per week.
The monthly reimbursement limit is $500. The program caps at $30,000.
Associate and senior associate employees at PricewaterhouseCoopers can take advantage of the company’s Student Loan Paydown program, which offers $1,200 a year up to six years. The global accounting and consulting firm claims its program can help reduce student debt and interest obligation by as much as $10,000 and shorten the loan payoff period by as many as three years.
Finance company SoFi has been contributing $200 per month to help its employees pay off their student loans since 2016. The company’s plan does not impose any yearly caps on what its employees can receive.
Staples made waves in 2016 when it became one of the first large retail chains to offer student loan repayment as an employee benefit. The program pays $100 per month for three years up to $3,600.
As recently as fall 2021, employees confirmed on Glassdoor that student loan repayment is still part of the benefits package.
The world’s largest retailer deals with student debt by helping its employees avoid it in the first place. Its Live Better U program, in partnership with Guild Education, pays for its associates to go back to school to receive a high school diploma, college degree, or professional certificate. The program covers 100% of tuition and expenses.
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