Data and Research

Employees Show Interest in Student Loan Repayment Benefit

More than 87% of respondents to a survey believe employer-sponsored student loan contribution programs are significant.

By Amanda Umpierrez editors@assetinternational.com | December 23, 2016

Employees are interested in repayment benefits as they tackle monthly payments, a survey from IonTuition, a provider of student loan debt help, found.

The study—which surveyed 2,712 adults currently employed and experienced in student loan borrowing and repayment—found that 87.7% of respondents believe employer-sponsored student loan contribution programs are significant. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds (65.4%) reported difficulty in paying student loan debt, and nearly one-third (32.4%) lack the confidence to complete payments.

These challenges don’t come as a surprise however, especially since more than half (51.3%) of respondents claimed not receiving any financial counseling before accepting the terms of their loans (a rule that is required when taking out a federal student loan). Inadequate counseling could be the reason why 61.9% believe their payments are or were too high, and why nearly half (48%) do not know their interest rate. Additionally, 35.6% of respondents believe they are unaware of their student loan repayment options, and while only 46.8% have a credit score of around 680, 14% lack any knowledge of their score and one-fifth (19.2%) of those are uncertain if their score is high or low.

To combat these issues and help with student loan management, 57.8% of those surveyed said it would be helpful if employers provided information and online tools, including a hotline for repayment education and one-on-one student loan counseling. Nearly half (48.4%) of respondents believe a hotline would be beneficial, while close to two-thirds (64.1%) would value personalized counseling.

"As businesses look to help employees with their student loan debt, they should consider the variety of assistance programs available," said Balaji Rajan, CEO of IonTuition. "There are options for employers who find refinance programs too restrictive or contribution payments prohibitive. With IonTuition, we've built a platform that puts repayment optimization in any employee's grasp, with or without employer-provided payments."

More findings of the survey can be found here.