Today, the Student Debt Working Group formed in 2016 by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office released an Employer Guide that provides an overview of student loan repayment assistance as an employee benefit, guidance on developing a student loan assistance program, and examples of local employers who have already successfully put such programs into place. Download the Employer Guide here.
The Employer Guide is just one of the initiatives included in the Working Group’s recently released report that highlights the group’s accomplishments, recommendations and other initiatives underway to help student borrowers and address the student loan debt crisis.
Over the past year, the Student Debt Working Group – which has brought together leaders from the business community, non-profits, and government to exchange ideas for improving access to higher education – has come together to discuss strategies to reduce unaffordable debt, increase transparency in student lending, and learn about programs at colleges and universities to create more affordable paths to graduation and into the workforce and help employees manage and repay their loans.
We are extremely grateful to our Student Debt Working Group members for producing yet another fantastic resource aimed at reducing the burden of rising student loan debt on the Greater Boston workforce. I’m also proud that many of our Chamber members are already putting student loan assistance programs into play. These programs not only serve to benefit their own employees and organizations, but they also benefit our regional economy and our ability to attract and retain talent as a competitive business community.
- Jim Rooney, Chamber President & CEO
“Student debt is a growing problem that we must all work together to address. Through our partnership with the Greater Boston Chamber and the Student Debt Working Group, we are doing just that. This guide highlights initiatives undertaken by members of the business community and provides important information for employers looking for ways to help their employees shoulder their student debt burden,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
Nearly 45 million Americans have student loan debt, totaling more than $1.4 trillion in loans. In Massachusetts, 66 percent of the graduating class of 2015 began their career with student debt, averaging nearly $31,500 per student. For younger people, debt affects their ability to buy a home, get married, and have children. For older borrowers, student debt creates challenges in planning for retirement.
Today’s Employer Guide was informed by a number of Working Group members including EdAssist, Fidelity, and American Student Assistance. A full listing of Student Debt Working Group members is included on the last page of the Employer Guide.
“Student debt affects where people can live and work, the types of jobs they are able to take, and their ability to save for retirement,” says Chris Duchesne, Group Vice President at EdAssist, a division of Bright Horizons. “Serving as co-chair of the Debt Repayment subcommittee provided an incredible opportunity to connect with area business leaders on the mutual value of helping pay down employees’ student loans – where employers not only alleviate a major source of stress for employees and pave the way for a smoother financial future, but also become armed with a powerful recruitment and retention tool. Since there is no one-size-fits all approach to developing a student loan repayment program, this employer guide is an invaluable tool for helping companies offer a program that is customized to both the organizations’ talent goals and skill gaps in their workforce.”
“Massachusetts has an amazing college culture that is the lifeblood of our state economy, with a more highly educated workforce than many states can boast. However, a more educated citizenry increasingly means a more indebted one. As Massachusetts workers of all ages struggle under the burden of student debt, American Student Assistance applauds employer efforts to offer student loan repayment assistance. We have offered student loan reimbursement to our own employees for more than 15 years and have witnessed firsthand the incredible peace of mind it brings to our workers, as well as our improved ability to recruit and retain a highly skilled workforce. We hope that many more Massachusetts employers step forward to become part of the solution to the nation's student debt challenge. We look forward to continuing to work with the dedicated members of the Student Debt Working Group, under the leadership of Attorney General Healey and the Boston Chamber of Commerce, to tackle this complex issue affecting so many facets of our Commonwealth's economy,” said Julie Lammers, Vice President, Consumer Advocacy and Government Relations for American Student Assistance.