Employers should consider student loan repayment

Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 by Jessica Salerno

In looking to attract young people, the key to setting the profession apart from competitors might be how quickly employers embrace helping pay down their employees’ student loans. The IRS last month issued a private letter ruling allowing an unnamed employer to make 401(k) contributions on behalf of employees who are repaying their student loans, and although it doesn’t set a precedent for other employers, it’s an interesting development when it comes to fighting student loan debt.

According to the Federal Reserve, the 44.5 million student loan borrowers in the U.S. owe a collective $1.5 trillion as of March 2018. The average college grad with a bachelor’s degree in 2016 had $28,466 in student debt. These are numbers the accounting profession shouldn’t ignore, especially when considering the need to embrace a pipeline of diverse individuals from all economic backgrounds.

PwC already offers student loan repayment to employees, but according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management they are one of few, as only 4% of employers offer a similar benefit.

Although accounting already has a reputation as a solid career, the knowledge that many accounting employers also will help pay back college debt could be a huge draw for young people as they consider their college major and future career.