Is Offering Student Loan Benefits Unfair to People Without Student Loans?

Is Offering Student Loan Benefits Unfair to People Without Student Loans?

We get asked a lot of questions about student loan benefits — we’re the experts, after all. As the landscape of employee benefits continues to evolve, organizations are constantly exploring innovative ways to attract and retain top talent. Student loan benefits are becoming more and more popular. (Yay!) And when organizations are thinking of providing a new type of financial support and relief to their employees burdened by student debt, they have questions. You probably have questions.

But there’s one question that we want to put to rest once and for all: Is offering student loan benefits unfair to people without student loans?

Since just yelling “NOOOOOO” isn’t really an effective way to make a point, we’re going to tell you all the reasons that question is fundamentally irrelevant and why it makes sense to embrace student loan benefits.

Effective benefits create equal access, not equal use

Employee benefits are not meant to be universally applicable to all employees — because our employees are not a monolith. Each benefit serves a specific purpose and targets particular groups within the workforce.

For instance, parental leave primarily supports employees who have or plan to have children, while tuition reimbursement supports those who seek further education. Recognizing the diverse needs of employees and tailoring benefits accordingly is essential to fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment.

Benefits often support a better society on the whole

Benefits like health insurance, parental leave, and bereavement leave create a better society for everyone. People who can get help when they’re sick, support their growing families, and grieve when they experience loss are better members of our society.

The same is true for student loan benefits. Student loan debt has wide implications for the economy as a whole. By offering student loan benefits, you not only invest in your employees but also contribute to economic growth. Borrowers who reduce their student loan debt can allocate those resources toward other areas, like buying a home, starting a family, or investing in their own businesses. Ultimately, this stimulates consumer spending, boosts the housing market, and creates a positive ripple effect in society.

Student loan benefits promote financial wellness

Student loan debt impacts the lives and financial well-being of millions of individuals — and not just young people. 30% of student loan borrowers are over 40 years old.

By offering student loan benefits, you can alleviate some of the financial stress and burden faced by your employees. For many employees who receive student loan benefits, the improved progress on their debt allows them to see a path forward to better financial wellness. They’re motivated to make other smart financial choices. This approach also supports overall employee well-being and enables individuals to focus on their professional growth and personal lives.

Student loan benefits promote employee engagement

Employee engagement is crucial for productivity, job satisfaction, and overall organizational success. Studies have shown that financial concerns, including student loan debt, can significantly impact an employee's focus and motivation at work.

By offering student loan benefits, employers demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being and financial stability, leading to increased engagement and loyalty. We constantly hear this from Dolr members who receive student loan benefits. In a recent survey, an employee wrote that the student loan benefit makes her feel “looked after and cared for, not just another worker bee.” Employees who feel supported by their organization are more likely to stay long-term and contribute positively to the company's success.

Student loan benefits improve talent acquisition and retention

Attracting and retaining top talent is a perpetual challenge for organizations. In a competitive job market, offering student loan benefits can be a significant differentiator. Many individuals prioritize financial stability and career growth opportunities when considering job offers.

Providing student loan assistance can enhance your employer brand and help you stand out from the competition. Moreover, this benefit can contribute to long-term retention, as employees are more likely to remain with an organization that supports their financial goals.

Student loan benefits help address inequity

As a final thought: rather than viewing student loan benefits as unfair to those without loans, consider the broader context of social and economic inequity. Many talented individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds have been deterred from pursuing higher education due to the fear of crushing student debt.

Offering student loan benefits can help level the playing field by attracting and supporting individuals who might not have had access to higher education in the first place. This approach fosters diversity and inclusivity within the workforce, creating a more equitable environment for all employees.

In the ever-evolving landscape of employee benefits, it is crucial to adapt and cater to the evolving needs of your workforce. Student loan benefits provide a powerful tool to engage, retain, and recruit top talent. While questions regarding fairness may arise, look at student loan benefits in the broader context of employee well-being, talent acquisition, and economic growth.

By embracing these benefits, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to employees' financial security and create a positive workplace culture that attracts and retains the best and brightest minds. Ultimately, offering student loan benefits is not only advantageous for individuals burdened by student debt but also for your organization and society as a whole.

Find out how Dolr student loan benefits can benefit your organization.