The vast majority of younger employees (90%) say they would commit to an employer for a five year period in return for real help paying down their student loans, a new survey from American Student Assistance (ASA) shows.
ASA describes itself as a “private nonprofit dedicated to eliminating finance as a barrier to education and the dreams education enables.” According to the advocacy group, employers should consider student loan repayment assistance alongside other employee benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings—and in fact for many Millennials student debt assistance is a higher priority than more traditional benefits.
Findings from the “Young Workers and Student Debt Survey” show real challenges faced by young workers with student debt. This is driving “strong demand for benefits such as financial literacy, one-on-one counseling, sign-on bonuses and student loan repayment,” ASA reports.
“Young workers feel highly stressed out as a result of the burden of student debt and that debt clearly impacts their health and productivity in the workplace,” observes Kevin Fudge, director of consumer advocacy and ombudsman at ASA. “Employers should realize that in order to retain the brightest young talent and demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being, they need to provide concrete and straightforward solutions to help alleviate this burden.”
At a high level, student loan debt is “negatively affecting young workers’ focus, well-being and retirement planning as well as delaying their pursuit of further higher education.”
“More than three out of out five young workers say their priority is paying off student loans and not contributing to a 401(k) or other retirement plan,” ASA warns. “The research also reveals a gap between human resource managers and their young workforce as to the perceived impact of student loans and the solutions that young workers are seeking in exchange for their loyalty.”
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