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Jobs that help pay off a portion of student loans are becoming more common and for a good reason. The average student loan borrower has $33,310 in student loan debt. And with projections that millennials will make up 75% of the labor force by 2025, employers are becoming more conscious of the needs of their employees.
Still, companies that help to repay a portion of student loans are in the minority, so you may have to do some research to get student loan assistance as a benefit. To help you, here’s what to know about what’s available, companies that offer this perk, and what you can do to try and negotiate for it.
Types of Job-Based Student Loan Assistance Programs
There are two types of student loan assistance you may receive through an employer: repayment assistance programs where your employer is a participant and repayment assistance benefits your employer offers directly.
Repayment Assistance Programs
Depending on your chosen career, you may be eligible to receive student loan assistance through a federal- or state-based program. There are several programs for those working in public service careers, like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs.
That said, these programs typically require you to commit to working in a specific job or a certain area (like medicine, law, or military service, for example) for a set number of years, which can be challenging if you don’t enjoy the job or want a different career path somewhere else.
But if you fulfill your service obligation, you may get as much as your full student loan balance forgiven.
Repayment Assistance Benefits
About 4% of employers in the U.S. offer student loan repayment assistance as a benefit, according to the Society for Human Resource Management
. But that may change, now that the IRS allows employers to use an employee’s 401(k) contribution match for student loan repayment.
The terms of a repayment assistance benefit can vary by employer. For example, some may offer it as a match of the employee’s payments and others may simply pay a set amount toward an employee’s loan balance each month.
The amount you receive from a repayment assistance benefit may be less than what you might get through a government repayment assistance program. But you may not need to commit to a service obligation to qualify, and you may be able to negotiate how much you’ll receive.
8 Major Companies that Repay Student Loans
Hundreds of large and small employers offer jobs that pay off student loans, but it’s not always easy to find out which ones provide the benefit. To help you get started, here are 10 well-known companies that repay student loans.
1. Abbott Laboratories
The company’s Freedom 2 Save program functions a bit differently than other repayment assistance benefits in that it combines efforts to pay off student loan debt and save for retirement.
Full- and part-time employees who qualify for the company’s 401(k) plan and contribute 2% of their pay toward student loan repayment, will receive a contribution of 5% of their salary in their 401(k) account. Employee 401(k) contributions aren’t required.
Full-time employees of the education company receive an annual contribution to their student loan payments.
3. Estee Lauder
The beauty company provides employees with $100 per month in student loan assistance, up to a total of $10,000.
As an employee of the investment brokerage firm, you’ll receive annual student loan repayment assistance—the maximum benefit is $10,000.
If you’ve graduated within the last three years, Nvidia will match your student loan payments dollar for dollar up to $500 per month. The lifetime cap is $30,000.
6. Penguin Random House
Employees who have been with the publisher for at least one year can receive up to $1,200 in student loan repayment assistance each year, for a total of $9,000 over seven-and-a-half years.
7. Pricewaterhouse Coopers
As a participating associate or senior associate, you can receive $1,200 in student loan payments each year.
As an employee with SoFi, you’ll get $200 each month in student loan repayment assistance.
Negotiating a Student Loan Repayment Benefit
If you’re looking for a job, keep an eye out for companies that repay student loans as an employee benefit. If you can’t find one, you can still try to negotiate the benefit for into your total compensation. Here are some ways to do it.
Doing Your Research
Tools like Payscale and Glassdoor can help give you an idea of the salary and benefits that may be available from various companies. Look at what the company you’re interested in typically offers as well as what you might get with a similar position somewhere else.
If anything, this process can give you a better idea of what you’re worth. But it will also give you a benchmark that you can use to negotiate for student loan repayment benefits, along with other aspects of your compensation.
Making Your Interests Clear
Helping a potential employer understand why student loan repayment is important to you can help set the stage for the entire conversation.
In addition to salary, employers can consider several other factors to make up your total compensation. So knowing what’s most important to you can help them make a more attractive offer.
Asking for a Signing Bonus Instead of Monthly Payments
While a signing bonus isn’t specifically designed as a student loan repayment benefit, you can use it that way. In fact, making a lump sum payment toward your student loans could help you accelerate your student loan debt repayment timeline.
Asking for the Opportunity to Revisit the Request in the Future
If you can’t manage to persuade a potential employer to provide you with student loan assistance, that may not be the end of it. You could ask for the chance to talk about your compensation again in six months or a year.
During that time, you may be able to prove to your employer that it’s worth the investment on their part. Or you may have planted a seed for the employer to create a student loan repayment benefit for all employees.
Making Student Loan Repayment a Priority
Whether or not you can find jobs that pay off student loans, you can still make it a priority to eliminate your student debt as quickly as possible. A student loan repayment assistance benefit can help you achieve that goal, but it can’t do it on its own.
As such, it’s essential to consider other options to save money, such as refinancing your student loans.
If you qualify, you may be able to reduce your interest rate or your monthly payment. With a lower interest rate you could potentially save money over the life of your loan.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice
This article is originally on SoFi.