Legislation would allow employers to offer tax-free student loan assistance to help their employees pay off student loan debt
WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee today joined her colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to help address the growing burden of student loan debt. The bipartisan Employer Participation in Repayment Act would allow employers to annually contribute up to $5,250 tax-free to paying off their employees’ student loans – providing employees with much-needed relief and employers with another tool to attract and retain talented employees.
“Far too many Granite Staters and Americans are facing the growing burden of student loan debt, and at the same time, our businesses are struggling to find the skilled workforce they need to keep growing and thriving,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan legislation is an innovative way to help address both of those issues, giving employees much-needed relief from their student loan debt, while also providing our businesses with a tool to attract and retain the talented workforce they need.”
According to reports, one in four Americans have student loans, and student debt in the U.S. reached $1.5 trillion in 2018. Student debt is a significant financial burden that not only influences the way our workforce saves and spends, but also has a stifling effect on the economy. The Employer Participation in Repayment Act would update an existing federal program so that it works better for employees living with the reality of burdensome student loan debt. The Employer Education Assistance Program, as currently written, only provides assistance for workers who are seeking additional education. It does not extend to individuals who have already incurred student loan debt during their undergraduate or graduate studies.
Senator Hassan joined Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD) in introducing the bill. Additional cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Sens. Angus King (I-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Doug Jones (D-AL), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Todd Young (R-IN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-NM). The legislation has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Scott Peters and (D-CA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) and has support from numerous educational organizations.