Nearly 90 percent of young employees would commit to an employer for 5 years – if it helped them pay back their debt.

Millennials worry about paying down their student debt so much that they’re willing to make a deal.

The American Student Assistance — a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating financial barriers to attending college — recently released the Young Workers and Student Debt survey. Its data shows that employees aged 22–33 stress about their student debt so often that it affects their health.


So much stress that, of the 502 people it polled, 86 percent are willing to commit five years of their career to a job. If they’re willing to help them pay their debt back. (Just don’t do it at Red Lobster.)

“Young workers feel highly stressed out as a result of the burden of student debt and that debt clearly impacts their health and productivity in the workplace,” says Kevin Fudge, director of consumer advocacy and ombudsman at ASA. “Employers should realize that in order to retain the brightest young talent and demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being, they need to provide concrete and straightforward solutions to help alleviate this burden.”

What student debt is doing to millennials

According to the study…

  • 56 percent worry about paying it back
  • 40 percent worry it’s affecting their health
  • 55 percent want to go to grad school, but can’t take on more of it
  • 61 percent consider getting a second job to help pay it back

The study also looked at what students want from jobs to help manage their student loan debt, in exchange for a five-year commitment…

  • 93 percent would take a sign-on bonus to pay back their loans with
  • 92 percent want a student loan repayment match similar to a 401k match
  • 89 percent want long-term financial planning
  • 79 percent want free access to a student debt counselor

Debts too high equal a reroute on repayment

The average student loan debt currently exceeds $37,000 per college graduate entering the workforce. With that kind of financial burden, it’s not surprising that almost 90 percent of young workers have said they would benefit from a student loan repayment program, similar to a 401k match at their jobs. Or the fact that, half of those workers have also said they would benefit from student loan counseling.

Young workers feeling negative effects from work-related and financial stress is nothing new. Previous research on the subject shows that of the whole country, millennials feel it the most. In a poll on work-related stress in America, 64 percent of workers aged 18-34 claim to feel stressed out at their jobs — more than any other age group.

Work-related stress

Even further research on millennials’ finance and work-related troubles, shows that 1 in 20 worry about money on an hourly basis. Student loan debt makes up 34 percent of their financial woes, the study found.

Almost 20 percent of millennials aged 25-34 vowed to pay down their debts in 2017, making it one of the top resolutions. It’ll be hard to get there on their own.

Currently four percent of employers offer student loan repayment contributions as a benefit. That number is also predicted to increase to 20 percent next year. If more employers take action on the troubles student debt is causing for this generation, that goal can become achievable, and not just another wasted New Year’s resolution.

Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of

Career and Business, College

401k, benefits, college savings, eliminate debt, employment, millennials, student loans

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Article last modified on April 20, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Student Loans Make Millennials Desperate - AMP.