There are a number of programs around the country that offer ‘loan forgiveness’ if one works in an inner city or an impoverished part of the nation…if one represents the United States volunteering in developing nations or if one enlists or serves in the US military as either an enlisted personnel or an officer….there are a myriad number of ways to get an education paid for or loans ‘forgiven’ or ‘paid off’….
The 2015 average student loan debt is a little over $35,000…the most indebted class ever…and the unemployment rate for the 2015 graduate is 7.2% (compared with 5.5% in 2007) and the underemployment rate for the college class of 2015 is 14.9% (compared with 9.6% in 2007). The numbers are higher now in 2015 due to the fact that the ‘great recession’ is the longest, most severe period of economic weakness in more than seven (7) decades.
I hate seeing young people owe money and I am a firm believer that no everyone needs to go to college, as prior BLOG’s have notated….however, if one goes to college and one borrows money for that purpose, I feel that we, as a society, have an obligation….in some way, shape or form….to reach out and help in some way….especially with some sort of interest free loans if the graduate has shown a consistent track record of work and societal contribution….if one is ‘working’, it is assumed that they are paying taxes….if one is volunteering, it is assumed that they are contributing to society in some manner without remuneration. I don’t have all the answers but I do have a great deal of thoughts on the subject…
For years, good companies have utilized the same formula to entice new, skilled employees….health benefits, 401K plans, opportunities for growth, creative sick/vacation/personal day plans….however, with the rise of the millennials in the workforce, companies have added ‘perks’ such as lounge rooms with game tables and lengthy ‘sabbaticals’ for travel…A new benefit that is being seriously considered by a number of companies is utilizing student debt repayment as a signing bonus as well as an ongoing benefit….with the monies either given to the employee or deposited directly into the employee’s student loan debt account.
Benefit programs such as this are going to be continuing into the mainstream with a company such as Price Waterhouse in the lead. Price Waterhouse has connected with another organization, Gradafi, a Boston start-up, that has created a program that allows employers to securely contribute to their employee’s student loan accounts. As talent markets continue to become more competitive, repayment of student loan debt will become more of an attraction for a particular segment of candidates. Please remember, there are very few students coming out of college without any debt whatsoever…
Some Human Resources executives feel that the ability to retain employees will help pay for this type of program….with the costs of turnover in today’s employment market, this may be a good incentive for a company to consider.
This program would be an extension of a tuition reimbursement program where a company might have a benefit, for example, that reimburses an employee for participating in a graduate program while working as an employee with the express agreement that the employee will continue to work at the company for a specific number of years after the degree is earned. Many organizations have this type of program in place for an employee earning an undergraduate degree with the employee maintaining a specific grade level for each course taken and either splitting the cost of the courses with the company/employee or the company paying the full costs.
We want to encourage training, education and skills in and for the workplace. If you are looking for a position and would like to have your student debt erased along the way, then please know that you can learn to sharpen your negotiating skills and possibly receive the desired outcome as a benefit and if you are an employer needing ideas to encourage skilled workers to look at your business, then this may be something to consider.
Please contact Rosanne Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 484-798-1236 if you have any questions regarding this type of program.