In an effort to recruit and retain talent, many employers are looking to offer attractive alternatives beyond traditional benefits packages. Student debt solutions are growing in popularity as a benefit designed to help employees manage and pay down their student debt. The demand for such an option seems clear, as the Federal Reserve estimates that 30% of all adults in the U.S. collectively owe more than $1.7 trillion in student loans, with 50% of employees between the ages of 22 and 44 carrying some amount of student loan debt1.

“Businesses increasingly are hearing that employees believe their employers should play a role in helping them pay down their student debt, whether through direct financial support or tools and resources that offer guidance,” said Matt Evans, executive vice president at PNC Bank, overseeing Organizational Financial Wellness. “It’s a very competitive job market right now and offering an incentive like student debt solutions can present an opportunity for employers to differentiate themselves.”

For businesses, the appeal of a student debt solution lies not only in its attractiveness to new candidates, but also its potential for bolstering employee retention through increased engagement. “Student debt resources are not just about reducing debt balances – they’re really about helping to foster employees’ overall financial wellness,” Evans said. “Showing willingness to help employees shoulder the stressful burden of student debt can go a long way toward deepening employee engagement and reducing the likelihood that talent will leave the company. It’s mutually beneficial for both employee and employer.”

As interest in student debt solutions grows, many businesses are looking to third-party partners to help integrate these resources into their benefit offerings. PNC Student Debt Solution, offered through PNC Organizational Financial Wellness and powered by Candidly™, is an example of one such option. The platform provides employees with decision tools and actionable tasks to develop and execute debt reduction plans, identify forgiveness opportunities, set repayment schedules and compare refinancing options. The goal, according to Laurel Taylor, founder and CEO of Candidly, is to guide employees through each stage of the student debt journey. “This type of student debt solution enables employees, across all ages and wages, to make meaningful progress on their journey from debt to wellness to wealth,” said Taylor.

The PNC Student Debt Solution offering is customizable and easy to implement, which, in Evans’ view, is critical from a business perspective. “Securing employee talent through attractive benefit offerings can play an important part in meeting business objectives, but it’s only part of the overall picture,” said Evans. “Having a trusted advisor who can provide seamless, easy integration of this benefit into a business’ existing operations and systems helps ensure that leaders can stay focused on what they need to do to move their business forward.”

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