Benefits of student loans highlight the diversity gap in the workplace

As employers strive to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, student loan benefits can be a critical part of closing the diversity gap and helping marginalized workers reach important milestones in their lives. .

Student debt is disproportionately held by underrepresented employees. Black graduates owe an average of $ 25,000 more in student loans than white college graduates, according to a study from EducationData.org, an information resource on the American education system.

Read more: Student debt relief is a priority for Weedmaps

To address these discrepancies, health technology company ConsejoSano has added the Goodly student loan benefit to its range of offerings. The Los Angeles-based company has just crossed the 100 employee threshold.

ConsejoSano – which means healthy advice in Spanish – will make monthly payments on student loans for its employees based on their length of service with the company. business. Workers with one year or less of time with the organization will receive $ 50 per month to pay off their debt. Employees with one to two years of service will receive $ 100 per month, those with two to three years with the company will receive $ 200 per month, and employees with three years or more will receive $ 400 per month.

The company decided to offer the Goodly advantage when superiors realized that their workforce is made up of individuals who are most disproportionately affected by student debt.

Read more: Employers can help employees save for college with Goodly 529 plans

“Our team is made up of around 80% women and around 75% first and second generation immigrants,” says Vikram Bakhru, Director of Operations at ConsejoSano. “[This benefit] is particularly relevant to our team and our purpose and mission as a company.

Women hold nearly two-thirds of the nation’s trillion-dollar student debt, according to a study by the American Association of University Women. What’s more, the median Latinx borrower still owes more than 80% of their student loan balance 12 years after graduation, compared to the median white borrower who owes 65% at the same time, according to a study by the Student Borrower Protection Center.

“Under-represented employees start their careers with larger debts to repay, which delays their ability to meet their financial goals, including saving to buy a home, build retirement savings, or otherwise accumulate wealth,” says Greg Poulin, CEO of student loan provider Goodly. “Employers are increasingly recognizing that their traditional benefit offerings are often disconnected from a workforce that now consists primarily of millennials and millennials.”

Despite the prevalence of student loans, only 8% of employers offer any benefit to help solve the problem, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. As the nature of work changes, employees are increasingly speaking out about what they want from their employers. Student loan benefits are the third most requested benefit among millennials, after health insurance and paid vacation, according to a survey by the American Institute of CPA.

As employers become more aware of the effort they need to put into their diversity and inclusion efforts, it is vital for them to deliver benefits that will help employees who are unfairly and unequally in debt.

“Student loans are increasingly seen as an issue of diversity, equity and inclusion because student debt is disproportionately held by underrepresented employees,” says Poulin. “Almost all of our new clients attribute their contribution to the diversification of their workforce and the building of a diverse talent pool to the repayment of student loans.”

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