As the Biden administration debates more wide-sweeping student loan forgiveness, over 44 million student loan borrowers are wondering if and when they will see relief.
White House officials are zeroing in on canceling $10,000 for all borrowers who earn less than $150,000 per year, CNBC reports, but the administration has yet to confirm such plans.
Most student loan payments have been suspended since March 2020 in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and while the pause on student loan repayment, interest and collections has been extended several times, it is set to expire on August 31.
Until the administration makes a final decision on broader student debt cancellation, borrowers may be able to ease — or erase — their debt with help from another source: their employer.
The CARES Act, which was signed into law in March 2020, allows companies to make up to $5,250 in student loan payments for a worker each year. What’s more, employees don’t have to pay income taxes and the employer doesn’t owe any payroll taxes on the amount.
The passing of the CARES Act and the continued war for talent has spurred more companies to offer student loan assistance programs, Jill Buban, the general manager and vice president of EdAssist Solutions, a company that helps employers organize such benefits, tells CNBC Make It.
Buban has witnessed a sharp uptick in companies adopting and embracing student loan repayment programs. In 2020, the Society for Human Resource Management reported that only 8% of employers offered student loan repayment assistance, writing that it was an “uncommon benefit despite its popularity among younger employees.”
But an October 2021 report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which spoke with 250 benefits decision makers, found that close to 50% of companies either already offer a student loan debt assistance program, or plan to introduce one in the next year or two.
Here are seven companies that are helping their employees pay off their student loans — and all are hiring right now:
The benefit: In 2020, Google announced that it would match up to $2,500 per year in student loan payments for any full-time employee with outstanding debt in the U.S. — and there is no total cap for how much aid an employee can receive over their time at Google, a spokesperson told CNBC Make It.
(Note: Earlier this week, Google told employees, and confirmed with the Verge, that the company was freezing most hiring for about two weeks.)
Open jobs: Software engineer, Interaction designer, UX researcher
2. Fidelity Investments
The benefit: Fidelity began offering its student loan assistance benefit in 2016. The benefit is available to employees working at least 20 hours per week beginning their first day of work.
Employees working between 20 and 29 hours each week can receive up to $89 per month from the firm toward their loans, up to $7,500 total. Employees working at least 30 hours per week can receive about $179 per month toward their loans, up to $15,000 total. Through the program, close to 15,000 Fidelity employees have saved $67 million in principal plus $31 million in interest payments, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC Make It.
Open jobs: Early career customer service associate, Investment solutions representative, Senior marketing manager
The benefit: Chegg has been helping employees pay off their loans since 2015 — and since the program started, more than 300 employees have been able to reduce or pay off their loans, a spokesperson confirmed. All U.S. employees working at least 30 hours per week, through the vice president level, can enroll in the benefit once they’ve been at the company for at least two years.
Open jobs: Corporate strategy manager, Product analyst, Business operations associate
4. The Estée Lauder Companies
The benefit: The global cosmetics firm announced in 2018 that it would offer $100 per month, up to a $10,000 lifetime maximum, in student loan debt contribution to full-time U.S. employees at the director level and below who have been with the company for more than a year.
Open jobs: Principal product manager (Experimentation), Skincare scientist, Package design coordinator
5. Live Nation Entertainment
The benefit: All full-time employees are eligible for Live Nation’s student loan repayment assistance program after six months of working there, and can receive $100 each month toward their loans for up to 60 months, or $6,000 total in aid. Since the program launched in 2017, employees have saved over $4 million, a spokesperson told CNBC Make It.
Open jobs: Event operations director, Marketing manager, People operations specialist
6. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
The benefit: Starting in 2016, all of PwC’s associates and senior associates became eligible to receive up to $1,200 per year toward their student loans for up for six years, or until they get promoted to a managerial role.
Open jobs: International tax services associate, Sustainability senior associate, Cyber defense senior associate