Workers Will Sacrifice Benefits for Student Loan Repayment Options

One-third would sacrifice retirement benefits.

As more workers are revealing an interest in student loan repayment benefits within the workforce, a recent survey from Millennial Personal Finance shows employees are willing to sacrifice other benefits for help with repayments.

Conducted with 500 recent college graduates working full-time and holding student loan debt, the survey found 23% of respondents said they would forgo health care benefits for student loan repayment help; 38% said they would switch out dental care benefits; 46% would give up paid time off (PTO); 33% would sacrifice retirement benefits; and 43% would rather have a student loan repayment benefit than life insurance.

Get more!  Sign up for PLANSPONSOR newsletters.

Employee benefits were not the only perk workers said they would consider cutting. According to the survey, a little more than half (53%) of workers revealed they would consider a salary cut, as long as they received a student loan repayment benefit in replacement. If a company were to offer a student loan benefit, 84% of respondents said they would strongly consider that job over others that did not.

Stress over student loan debt disturbs efficiency in the workforce, the survey found. Fifty-seven percent of workers replied “yes” when asked if the pressure in repaying student loan debt affects their productivity at work. Ninety-three percent of respondents who have a student loan repayment benefit with their employer said they are making additional debt payments on top of their employer’s contribution.

More than one-third (34%) of workers believe an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan would be most accommodating in repaying student debt. Student loan repayment benefits came in second with 33% of workers saying they would be most helpful; 30% of respondents believe a student loan refinancing tool would assist them better; and 4% said starting a GoFundMe would be the best option.

The survey also found that even though respondents would forgo their benefits, most (84%) were unaware of H.R. 795, the Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act, a piece of legislation that would encourage employers to offer the benefit by lengthening tax exclusions to student loan repayments by an employer to an employee. Still, the survey reported that 62% of respondents want their congressman or congresswoman to support the bill.

More information about the study can be found here.