Tips for college grads making their first loan payments

Some employers offer their workers help sorting out repayment options through startup loan navigation tools like Summer and Savi. And more and more employers are even offering direct financial assistance with student loans as a workplace benefit, although it’s not yet widespread. Eight percent of employers offered student debt relief in 2019, up from 4 percent in 2018, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. It is therefore worth asking your employer if they can help you.

PwC, the leading accounting firm, was a pioneer in offering student loan assistance. The company recruits heavily on college campuses and began hearing from students and faculty that student debt was a growing burden. “It’s started to become a real hot topic and cause for concern,” said Michael Fenlon, PwC’s chief human resources officer.

In 2016, the company started offering a student loan benefit. Employees who enroll receive $1,200 per year for up to six years to help repay their student loans. Payments do not replace regular student loan payments. Instead, they are paid as an additional $100 monthly payment to the student loan servicer, processed by Gradifi, an outside provider, Fenlon said. Payments reduce loan principal and interest and shorten the repayment period to three yearssaving borrowers thousands of dollars, PwC said.

Other companies offering student loan repayment assistance include Aetna and Fidelity Investments; Nerdwallet website provide a list.

Additionally, mobile apps have sprung up to help borrowers repay their loans faster. For a monthly fee of $1, Amended allows users to round up daily purchases to the next dollar and use the extra currency to pay off student loans. The app automatically makes a payment to the loan officer when the “reserve” currency totals $100.

Another app, Digit, which automatically transfers small amounts of money from a user’s checking account to a savings account, this week introduced a new feature that offers the ability to make additional student loan payments. . Customers link their loan officer information to their account, which aggregates small deposits, and then make an additional monthly payment, said Ethan Bloch, chief executive of Digit. Digit’s monthly fee is $5, after a one-month free trial.

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