Finding Jobs That Pay Off Student Loans
Jobs that help pay off a portion of student loans are becoming more common and for a good reason. The average student loan borrower has around $37,000 in student loan debt.
Companies that help to repay a portion of student loans are in the minority, so you may have to do some research to get student loan assistance as a benefit. To help you, here’s what to know about what’s available, companies that offer this perk, and what you can do to try and negotiate for it.
Types of Job-Based Student Loan Assistance Programs
There are two types of student loan assistance you may receive through an employer: repayment assistance programs where your employer is a participant and repayment assistance benefits your employer offers directly.
Repayment Assistance Programs
Depending on your chosen career, you may be eligible to receive student loan assistance through a federal – or state-based program. There are several programs for those working in public service careers, like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs.
That said, these programs typically require you to commit to working in a specific job or a certain area (like medicine, law, or military service, for example) for a set number of years, which can be challenging if you don’t enjoy the job or want to pursue a different career path somewhere else.
But if you fulfill your service obligation, you may get as much as your full student loan balance is forgiven.
Recommended: A Guide to Military Student Loan Forgiveness
Repayment Assistance Benefits
About 8% of employers in the U.S. offer student loan repayment assistance as a benefit, according to the Society for Human Resource Management . The terms of a repayment assistance benefit can vary by employer. For example, some may offer it as a match of the employee’s payments and others may simply pay a set amount toward an employee’s loan balance each month.
The amount you receive from a repayment assistance benefit may be less than what you might get through a government repayment assistance program. But you may not need to commit to a service obligation to qualify, and you may be able to negotiate how much you’ll receive.
Types of Jobs That Offer Student Loan Forgiveness
In order to qualify for certain types of loan forgiveness, borrowers may need to meet certain employment requirements. Here are some of the jobs that could potentially allow someone to qualify for federal student loan forgiveness programs.
1. Federal Agency Employee
Federal agencies may be allowed to offer student loan assistance as a perk to appeal to candidates. In order to qualify for this student loan repayment assistance, the employee is required to sign onto a three-year contract with the agency. The benefit may be up to $10,000 per year, but cannot be more than $60,000 per person. Additionally, the benefit is only available to for federal student loans.
2. Public Service Worker
If you work in the public service sector for a qualifying organization, such as the government or a non-profit, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). To pursue PSLF, borrowers are required to make 120 qualifying payments while certifying their employment with a qualifying employer. After this period, any remaining amount is forgiven. PSFL is only available to borrowers with federal student loans.
If you have a Perkins loan and work in public service, you could potentially qualify for loan cancellation.
3. Medical Field
The Association of American Medical Colleges maintains a database with information on loan assistance programs for doctors by state.
Medical professionals who work in underserved areas may also qualify for loan forgiveness through the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program . In this program, medical professionals must commit to working for at least two years in a Health Professional Shortage Area.
Refinancing medical school student loans may be another option to consider for medical professionals who are not pursuing any loan forgiveness programs. While refinancing would eliminate loans from any federal forgiveness programs, it could potentially allow borrowers to secure a more competitive interest rate.
4. Automotive Professionals
Professionals in the automotive industry may qualify for loan forgiveness through the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Loan Forgiveness Program. In 2021, SEMA awarded funds to pay for student loans to 22 working professionals.
Lawyers may also be able to qualify for PSLF. In addition, there are other lawyer-specific programs that provide assistance to lawyers paying off student loan debt including the Department of Justice Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program or John R. Justice (JRJ) Program.
Student loan forgiveness for teachers is available. Teachers who work in special education, are considered highly qualified teachers or work in underserved areas may qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. The amount of loan forgiveness available is dependent on the teacher’s area of specialty and can be either $17,500 or $5,000.
7. Peace Corps
Peace Corps volunteers may be eligible to defer their loans or pursue PSLF.
Veterinarians who work in underserved areas may qualify for up to $25,000 in student loan repayment assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program.
8 Major Companies that Repay Student Loans
Hundreds of large and small employers offer jobs that pay off student loans, but it’s not always easy to find out which ones provide the benefit. To help you get started, here are 10 well-known companies that repay student loans.
1. Abbott Laboratories
The company’s Freedom 2 Save program functions a bit differently than other repayment assistance benefits in that it combines efforts to pay off student loan debt and save for retirement.
Full- and part-time employees who qualify for the company’s 401(k) plan and contribute 2% of their pay toward student loan repayment, will receive a contribution of 5% of their salary in their 401k account. Employee 401k contributions aren’t required.
Full-time employees of the education company receive an annual contribution to their student loan payments.
3. Estee Lauder
The beauty company provides employees with $100 per month in student loan assistance, up to a total of $10,000.
As an employee of the investment brokerage firm, you’ll may be eligible to receive up to $15,000 toward your student loan payments.
If you’ve graduated within the last three years, Nvidia will match your student loan payments dollar for dollar up to $500 per month. The lifetime cap is $30,000.
6. Penguin Random House
Employees who have been with the publisher for at least one year can receive up to $1,200 in student loan repayment assistance each year, for a total of $9,000 over seven-and-a-half years.
As a participating associate or senior associate, you can receive $1,200 in student loan payments each year.
As an employee with SoFi, you’ll get $200 each month in student loan repayment assistance.
Negotiating a Student Loan Repayment Benefit
If you’re looking for a job, keep an eye out for companies that repay student loans as an employee benefit. If you can’t find one, you can still try to negotiate the benefit for into your total compensation. Here are some ways to do it.
Doing Your Research
Resources like Payscale and Glassdoor can help give you an idea of the salary and benefits that may be available from various companies. Look at what the company you’re interested in typically offers as well as what you might get with a similar position somewhere else.
If anything, this process can give you a better idea of what you’re worth. But it will also give you a benchmark that you can use to negotiate for student loan repayment benefits, along with other aspects of your compensation.
Making Your Interests Clear
Helping a potential employer understand why student loan repayment is important to you can help set the stage for the entire conversation.
In addition to salary, employers can consider several other factors to make up your total compensation. So knowing what’s most important to you can help them make a more attractive offer.
Asking for a Signing Bonus Instead of Monthly Payments
While a signing bonus isn’t specifically designed as a student loan repayment benefit, you can use it that way. In fact, making a lump sum payment toward your student loans could help you accelerate your student loan debt repayment timeline.
Recommended: How to Negotiate Your Signing Bonus
Asking for the Opportunity to Revisit the Request in the Future
If you can’t manage to persuade a potential employer to provide you with student loan assistance, that may not be the end of it. You could ask for the chance to talk about your compensation again in six months or a year.
During that time, you may be able to prove to your employer that it’s worth the investment on their part. Or you may have planted a seed for the employer to create a student loan repayment benefit for all employees.
Making Student Loan Repayment a Priority
Whether or not you can find jobs that pay off student loans, you can still make it a priority to eliminate your student debt as quickly as possible. A student loan repayment assistance benefit can help you achieve that goal, but it can’t do it on its own.
As such, it’s essential to consider other options to save money, such as refinancing your student loans. While refinancing can be a helpful option for some borrowers, it won’t make sense for everyone. If federal student loans are refinanced they’ll lose eligibility for federal programs and benefits, like PSLF or income-driven repayment plans.
If you qualify, you may be able to reduce your interest rate or your monthly payment. With a lower interest rate you could potentially save money over the life of your loan.
The number of companies offering student loan repayment assistance as a part of their employee benefits package is growing. Some jobs might also offer the opportunity for the borrower to apply for student loan forgiveness. For example, there are programs available for medical professionals, teachers, and those that work in the government or non-profit sector.
Another opportunity for managing student loans is refinancing, which could allow qualifying borrowers to lower their interest rates — making the loan more affordable in the long run. If you’re interested in refinancing, consider the options available at SoFi.
What careers pay off student loans fastest?
High paying jobs may help borrowers repay their student loans quickly. However, some jobs may allow borrowers to pursue a loan forgiveness program. While these programs may not expedite the repayment process, they could help make student loan repayment more manageable.
What companies pay off student loans?
Companies including SoFi, Fidelity, Penguin Random House, and Nvidia all offer student loan repayment assistance programs. Specific benefits vary by company.
What kind of jobs qualify for student loan forgiveness?
The type of job that qualifies for student loan forgiveness may vary depending on the program. Jobs in the government or non-profit sector may qualify a borrower for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Teachers may qualify for Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness programs. Some medical professionals may qualify for programs such as the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program.
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SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.
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Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For information on licenses, see NMLS Consumer Access (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org ). The Student Debt Navigator Tool and 529 Savings and Selection Tool are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal housing lender.
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