Now many want help from employers to pay back their loans

“Expensive college education” is sort of redundant. College is expensive. It seems as though some graduates didn’t get that memo.

A Barnes & Noble survey found that more than half of undergraduate students believe college is more expensive than they originally planned. It’s a surprise for most even though 73 percent of students say they considered the cost before applying and it made an impact on their college decisions.

Now, many grads want workplaces to offer student loan repayment benefits. Consulting firm Oliver Wyman says 90 percent of Americans with student loan debt would consider repayment help as a reason to accept a job offer (or stay where they are).

It’s a strange predicament, considering that students use many different methods to pay for college, including:

  • 74 percent use scholarships including grants
  • 62 percent use parent contributions
  • 55 percent contribute their own money
  • 47 percent use federal loans
  • 13 percent use private student loans
  • 10 percent use federal parent loans

Since most college students know how much college is before heading to campus, it’s hard to imagine why they would be surprised at the cost after they graduate. Nonetheless, the Oliver Wyman research says most students are looking at repayment help as part of their overall workplace benefits.

“People with student loan debt are carrying a serious financial and emotional burden,” says Tim DeMello, CEO of Gradifi — the company who commissioned the research. “The pressure of making big monthly loan payments is taking its toll in terms of stress, housing affordability and quality of life. For employers, the research makes crystal clear that a student loan repayment benefit can create a decisive hiring advantage in recruiting highly skilled workers, while offering much-needed relief to borrowers.”

Student loan repayment benefits are now in higher demand than retirement contributions, but only 4 percent of employers offer it as a benefit.

“Fifty-eight percent of those with outstanding student loan debt said they prefer their employer help them pay down their student debt rather than make additional contributions to their retirement savings,” the research says.

Student loan debt is a big problem with no solution

While some employers are starting to help with student loan repayment, most jobs are not up-to-date on offering this. With trillions of dollars in student loan debt and more mounting every year, the vast majority of employees want help with repaying.

But help starts with employees. They are working nonstop and even though they might be happy in the work they are doing, they aren’t making as much as they could be if they were working in a different field.

College woes may partially come from parents. Most kids expect their parents to pay for any college they want. That put parents in a bind for their kids’ futures and theirs. Nearly everyone thinks college is worth it, despite the overwhelming expense we face after we graduate. Parents believe in getting their kids to college but end up signing them up for debt without knowing the true cost.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

College, Credit & Debt

college savings, parents, save money, student loans

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Article last modified on July 12, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Apparently College Grads Didn't Realize How Expensive College Is - AMP.