As more companies grapple with the panic over how to retain elusive millennial employees — because these noted lazy forever-teens tweet, hop, and jump from career to career — somebody may have actually come up with a great answer to the problem. Some businesses are beginning to include student-loan payoff as part of a benefits package. The Times has the report on Fidelity, one of the first companies to offer this benefit:
Under the student loan repayment program, Fidelity will apply up to $2,000 a year — or nearly $167 a month — toward an employee’s student loan principal, up to $10,000 total. More than 5,000 employees, or about 11 percent of its work force, have signed up since January. Tuition.io, a company based in Santa Monica, Calif., collects the payments and sends them directly to the loan servicers. It also gives workers guidance on which loans to pay off first.
With $1.2 trillion of student debt currently racked up in America, this kind of plan could appeal to a certain age group more than, say, a retirement plan. Many young people are so saddled by debt that the idea of a retirement fund feels like an imaginary dream, or a far-off possibility; but student loan debt is what is keeping so many Gen Y-ers from putting down roots. According to calculations by Tuition.io, if an employer contributes $100 a month to an employee who has $35,000 in debt with a 6 percent interest rate over 10 years, the employee could save “at least $2,213 in interest, and shave 2.5 years off the repayment period.”
As long as you throw in a free hoverboard, right?