As employers explore different ways to lure millennial workers, a growing number of companies are providing a benefit that offers assistance with student loan payments.
A new analysis by NerdWallet finds that for an average borrower (with a $29,000 loan balance) that benefit could be worth $4,100 and would cut the repayment term by an average of three years.
The benefit is even more valuable for those with advanced degrees and the higher debt loads that come with them. MBA grads and lawyers could shave an average of more than $5,000 off their loan balances.
Related: 10 Fast and Cheap Ways to Pay Off Student Debt
A typical worker with undergraduate loans could save more than $900 by refinancing their debt, although they’d lose some of the benefits that come with federal loans. By both refinancing and taking advantage of employer contributions, that worker could cut their balance by nearly $4,300.
Companies that have recently begun offering student loan repayment assistance to employees include PwC, Fidelity Investments, Natixis Global Asset Management, Chegg and ChowNow.
The trend is still in its early stages, though. Just 3 percent of companies offer the benefit, and less than 1 percent plan to introduce it in the next year, according to the Society of Human Resource Management.
Even so, for companies competing to attract and keep young talent, this could be a significant differentiator. The career networking site Beyond found that nearly 90 percent of job seekers would like to see companies offering student loan repayment as part of their benefit package, and more than 80 percent said they would be more willing to stay with a company that offered it.