Student loan relief has been an up-and-coming topic each year as more conversations is happening on how to lessen the burden of loans. This past year’s presidential election highlighted the importance of resolving student loans in the most responsible way possible.
Student Debt Crisis, a nonprofit organization, polled student loan borrowers before the pandemic. This report stated 21 percent of borrowers rated their financial wellness as poor or very poor prior to the pandemic. However, since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, that has increased to 52 percent of borrowers rating themselves within the poor to very poor financial class. Borrowers reported food insecurity, missing rent or mortgage payments as well as homelessness due to student loan repayments.
SHRM provides a brief breakdown of the student loan relief used during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as past and current stances between employers and employees as they face the upcoming repayment date on October 1, 2021.
The importance of employers understanding how big of burden student loans are to their employees is a large focus. Ruben Hormostay, an HR specialist with TekSynap, describes TekSynap’s benefits and how the company plans to offer student-loan-related assistance to employees, with the goal of “attracting and retaining top talent.” The firm through its plan with SoFi will match employees’ payroll-based student loan repayments up to $1,000 or will match employees’ contributions to a 529 college savings plan by the same amount. This allows the company to “ensure the majority of employees reap the benefits of the firm’s commitment to education and financial well-being for all employees.” Hormostay stresses the importance of a well-equipped HR team to provide all information for employees as well as advising, “Keeping the lines of communication open is key.”