With the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan running into a wall of legal challenges — Supreme Court hearings have begun concerning the legality of the plan — many borrowers might wonder whether their debt will ever be canceled.
The U.S. Department of Education has stopped accepting applications for loan relief while the legal battles play out. The Biden administration promises to keep fighting to save the program, but it remains uncertain when (or if) that will happen.
As previously reported by GOBankingRates, Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal said in a court filing that if the Education Department can’t provide debt relief, “we anticipate there could be an historically large increase in the amount of federal student loan delinquency and defaults.”
The prospect of millions of American borrowers having to repay debt they thought might be canceled has led to renewed discussion about what the country can do to ease its massive student debt load. Among the ideas is for the private sector to help pay down loans — including companies whose employees are saddled with debt.
One of the proponents of having employers help out is Kristen Carlisle, general manager of Betterment at Work, a provider of 401k and financial wellness benefits.
“Amidst all this uncertainty, one thing is clear: all student debt will not be going away anytime soon and it’s time for employers to take action,” Carlisle told GOBankingRates in an email statement. “The trillions of dollars of student loan debt owed in the U.S. is a nationwide crisis, and an enormous burden to the millions of Americans carrying that debt.”
She said employers should offer student loan benefits to help ease the burden. This might involve providing financial tools that ease the process of making payments, offering financial advisors to consult with employees, or offering a student loan matching program.
“Regardless of how things play out in the courts, there will still be a massive amount of outstanding student debt across the U.S., and employers need to partner with employees to help find solutions,” Carlisle said.
The good news is, progress is being made. As CNBC reported, a 2021 study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that close to 50% of the 250 companies it surveyed either already offered a student loan debt assistance program or planned to introduce one in the next year or two.
Here’s a quick look at 11 companies that already help employees pay down student debt, based on 2022 reports from Real Simple, Money Crashers and Best Colleges.
- AlloSource: Partners with student loan repayment platform Tuition.io make payments directly to employees’ student loan servicers.
- Ally Financial: Offers employees $100 per month in student loan repayment assistance.
- Andersen Global: Partners with student loan repayment platform Gradifi, which makes payments directly to Andersen’s employees’ student loan servicers. Under the program, Andersen offers all full-time employees $100 per month for 60 months toward their student loan payments. It also offers a $6,000 lump-sum payment at the end of the five-year term.
- Carhartt: Partners with Tuition.io to contribute $50 per month toward employees’ loans, up to a lifetime maximum of $10,000.
- Carvana: Contributes up to $1,000 per year toward student loan payments for full-time employees.
- HCA: Offers employees tuition repayment assistance of up to $100 for full-time employees and $50 for part-time employees.
- Honeywell: Partners with Gradifi to offer qualifying employees $150 per month in student loan repayment assistance, up to a lifetime maximum of $10,000.
- Medix: Offers monthly contributions to student loan repayment.
- New York Life: Gives employees up to $170 per month for up to five years for student debt. Eligible workers can reduce their debt by up to $10,200 through the program.
- Penguin Random House: Contributes up to $1,200 per year toward employees’ student debt. The program lasts seven years per employee, for a lifetime maximum of $9,000.
- Terminix: Employees can get $50 per month toward their student loans, paid through the Tuition.io platform. There is no lifetime maximum.
- Weedmaps: Pays up to $1,000 a year towards employee student loans.
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