13 Companies That Help Employees Pay For College

By Julia Califano · March 15, 2024 · 8 minute read

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13 Companies That Help Employees Pay For College

Although a high salary can certainly sway a qualified applicant, these days, it’s not just money that talks. Employee benefits play a pivotal role in attracting candidates to an organization.

That doesn’t mean you need to invest in flashy perks like catered lunches and arcade lounges to attract the best and brightest employees. Help paying for college — or repaying student loan debt — can go a long way toward convincing an applicant to take the gig.

That may be why a growing number of companies are adding help with tuition costs and student debt to their suite of employee benefits, along with standards like health insurance coverage and paid time off. Here are the creative solutions a number of forward-thinking companies have come up with.

1. Starbucks

Already famous for its generous suite of perks, including comprehensive healthcare coverage even for part-time employees, you’d better believe Starbucks also counts college costs among its benefits. All benefits-eligible employees (or “partners,” as they’re called by the company, which also offers each barista investor shares) receives 100% tuition coverage toward their first-time bachelor’s degree through a competitive online program at Arizona State University.

For partners with existing student loan debt, the coffeehouse chain offers access to loan management tools, resources, student loan coaches, and refinancing options.

Recommended: Helping Employees Make Smart Student Debt Decisions: The Urgent Need for HR Support

2. Disney

As if working in a theme park weren’t magical enough, Disney also offers its U.S.-based employees full, up-front tuition payment at in-network schools, including the costs of application fees and required books and course materials.

Called the Aspire program , both full- and part-timers are eligible for the benefit after 90 days of service. According to Disney, over 3,800 current employees have taken advantage of the program, 30% of the program’s graduates have enrolled in another program, and 3,100 students and graduates have been promoted internally.

Recommended: Guide to College Tuition Reimbursement

3. The US Government

One of the very last bastions of that now-fabled benefit, the pension, federal jobs also offer another attractive perk: student loan repayment of up to a whopping $10,000 per year with a $60,000 maximum. Employees receiving this benefit must sign an agreement that they will remain in their position for at least three years.

Eligibility varies based on specific location and post, but this recruitment/retainment incentive is frequently used by U.S. agencies looking for qualified candidates.

Recommended: How Does an HR Team Implement a Student Loan Matching or Direct Repayment Benefit?

4. SoFi

Hey, we have to toot our own horn a little bit — especially since we were one of the first companies to roll out this kind of perk! We offer our employees help with student loan payments to the tune of $200 per month, along with tuition reimbursement up to $5,250 per year (up to a lifetime max of $25,000).

Along with giving our own employees a leg up, we can also help you implement valued education perks for your workers through SoFi at Work’s Education Assistance Platform (EAP). The first of its kind, our EAP is a one-stop shop of streamlined educational benefit and contribution programs. The program is fully customizable, and once it’s set up, your employees can enroll in minutes.


This tech company knows the importance of a college education — and they show it by offering their employees a student loan repayment program, tuition reimbursement, and other education benefits.

Both full- and part-time workers who graduated within the last three years and clock more than 20 hours each week can apply for a student loan reimbursement of up to $350 a month (with a lifetime maximum of $30,000). Payments are made directly to the loan servicer and are meant to exceed the required minimum monthly payment (which must be made by the employee).

NVIDIA also reimburses qualified educational expenses for employees who take classes through accredited institutions (including colleges and universities, Coursera, and edX), as well as customized student loan refinancing options and a 529 college savings plan.

Recommended: How Student Loan Benefits Can Help Retain Employees

6. Chegg

Well-known for helping students save money on books throughout their college careers, Chegg also helps employees tackle their student loans. Through a ground-breaking program launched in 2019 called “Equity for Education,” entry- through manager-level employees who have been with the company for a minimum of two years can receive up to $5,000 towards their student loans annually; director- and vice president-level employees are eligible for up to $3,000 per year. Chegg also offers a tuition reimbursement program.

7. PwC

As part of PwC’s Student Loan Paydown benefit, the professional services firm will pay up to $1,200 per year towards its participating associates and senior associates, up to a maximum of $10,000. According to the company, this benefit can help to reduce student loan principal and interest obligations by as much as $10,000, and shorten loan payoff by up to three years.

PwC also offers incentives to employees to obtain their CPA and other primary credentials, including tuition reimbursement and educational programs.

8. Abbott

Recognizing how hard it is to save for retirement when you’re also busy dialing down student debt, this Illinois-based healthcare company began brainstorming solutions back in 2016. The benefit they came up with was so innovative, they had to seek special permission from the federal government to carry it out.

The program, called Freedom 2 Save, offers a free 5% 401(k) bonus “match” to employees who contribute 2% of their eligible pay to their student loans — even if those employees aren’t contributing their own 5% to the retirement plan. It served as a blueprint for a provision of the Secure 2.0 Act that took effect Jan. 1, 2024, allowing other employers to offer similar programs.

The blueprint was recently published by Abbott and guides employers through the process of developing and implementing a benefit like Freedom 2 Save.

Abbott also offers FreeU, a benefit that provides an affordable path toward a bachelor’s degree, as well as tuition assistance (up to $7,000 per year for undergraduate courses and up to $10,000 per year for graduate courses).

9. CoStar Group

CoStar Group, a Washington, DC-based real estate data and research provider, offers a similar student loan repayment benefit to Abbott’s: They provide a company match to an employee’s 401(k) for workers paying off student loans. The maximum total retirement match is 4%, as long as the employee contributes at least 4% of their pay directly to the 401(k) or student loan repayment.

In addition, CoStar provides tuition reimbursement for undergraduate or graduate courses at an accredited education institution, up to a maximum of $5,250 per year non-taxable.

10. Community Health Services

To battle the severe shortage of healthcare workers, Tennessee-based hospital chain Community Health Systems (CHS) expanded employee benefits by $40 million per year in 2022. As part of that expansion, they rolled out an employer-sponsored student loan repayment program designed to pay down loan balances by up to $20,000 for most clinical employees. In addition, employees may consolidate their loans and possibly reduce interest rates through the program.

CHS also offers a tuition reimbursement program that provides up to $5,000 in tax-free reimbursement annually.

Recommended: How Leading Companies are Helping Employees With the Return to Repayment

11. Athletico Physical Therapy

A national provider of orthopedic rehabilitation services, Athletic introduced a new program on January 1, 2024 that helps employees pay down their student loans faster. The company contributes $100 monthly toward each eligible employees’ student loan debt. According to the company, this tax-free contribution is expected to help the average Athletico employee save as much as $16,000 on their loan after eight years and pay the loans off 20 months faster. The benefit is available to all employees, as well as new hires who work 30+ hours per week.

12. Chipotle

In response to Congress’s approval of the SECURE Act 2.0, Chipotle rolled out a new perk in January 2024 that will help workers save for retirement while also paying off student loans. An eligible employee can now receive a 401(k) match of up to 4% of their salary if they make a student loan payment that is at least 5% of their salary. Private and federal loans are eligible for the student loan match.

The chain of fast casual restaurants also supports education in other ways. In partnership with Guild
, Chipotle employees have access to up to $5,250 of tuition reimbursement annually which can be used for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Some select programs may qualify for 100% tuition reimbursement.

13. Kimberly-Horn

Engineering consultancy Kimley-Horn has long been known for its generous 2-for-1 401(k) match, in which they offer a match of double an employee’s 4% contribution with an 8% company contribution. With the passing of SECURE 2.0, the company now gives employees with student debt more flexibility in how they allocate their dollars. Eligible employees who want to prioritize paying down their student debt can apply the required 4% contribution to their student loans — instead of their 401(k)s — and still receive the full 401(k) match from Kimley-Horn. The firm also offers a tuition reimbursement program.

The Takeaway

By helping your employees pay for college and/or pay back their student loans, you not only make opportunities at your company more attractive — you also help ensure your company is staffed by well-educated employees who aren’t struggling with high levels of student debt.

SoFi at Work can help. We offer tools that employers can use to help relieve the stress of college financing and student debt, including student loan repayment platforms, extensive education efforts, a 529 college savings program, an online student debt navigator, and more.

Photo credit: iStock/Inna Luzan

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