Explore the impact of a student loan repayment benefit with insights from our latest report (2023)

Here’s how companies that offered or adopted an student loan repayment benefit in 2023 made a difference on their employees’ financial well-being
The Highway Team
The Highway Team
Updated
Published
January 16, 2024

Post Summary

2023 was a big year for student loans–the first attempts at wide-sweeping forgiveness were struck down, federal pandemic forbearance finally ended, and major updates to income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness programs were rolled out. 

For Highway customers offering a student loan repayment benefit, 2023 was even more monumental. As federal loan payments resumed, our customers (and their employees) were able to truly appreciate how much their employer student loan repayment benefit can make a difference. 

To quantify the impact our customers made with their student loan repayment benefit in 2023, we’ve created Highway’s first annual student loan repayment (SLR) benefit impact report for 2023. 

Here are some key insights from the report:

  • More women than men participated in their company’s student loan repayment benefit plans (54% vs 44%)
  • Younger generations represented the majority of SLR benefit participants (86%) but older generations had their fair share of debt as well
  • Highway-powered student loan repayment benefits had utilization rates consistent with expectations 
  • Highway customers had a quantifiable impact on their employees’ financial well-being in 2023 and saved each enrolled employee ~$3.5K on average

Who participated in their company’s student loan repayment benefit?

According to our impact analysis for 2023, Millennials made up the bulk of all employees enrolled in their companies’ student loan repayment benefit (68% of all participants) with Gen-Z employees coming in second (18%).  

Women also enrolled in their companies’ SLR benefits at slightly higher rates than men (54% vs 44%). 

These findings may not come as a surprise considering women currently hold ~66% of all outstanding student debt and millennials currently represent the lion’s share of borrowers.

Graph of SLRP plan participation by gender

How many people used their company’s student loan repayment benefit? 

Our plan benchmarks found that on average, the majority of eligible employees with student debt opted to take advantage of their companies’ student loan repayment benefit programs. 

Enrollment across benefit plans in 2023 averaged roughly 27.5%. Considering a little less than ⅓ of working Americans have student debt, that’s pretty consistent with what we’d expect to see if all employees with student loans enrolled in their companies’ benefit plans. 

Bottom line: Employees with student loans really valued this benefit! On average, nearly everyone who could qualify to enroll in 2023, did. 

Graph of Average SLRP plan enrollment

How impactful was a student loan repayment benefit for participating employees?

Our customers’ student loan repayment benefits were pretty impactful this year! 

On average, each individual participating employee saved an estimated $3.5K in 2023 in principal and interest payments thanks to their employer contributions. 

Considering the average enrolled employee on Highway’s platform had an average outstanding student loan balance of ~$55K (and a median balance of just under $30K) at the end of 2023, Highway customers were able to help employees with 6-11% of their student loan burden in just one year!  

Over time, the boost from this benefit could result in the average enrolled employee paying off their loan years sooner than anticipated. Employees who were able to use their benefit to pay down their debt during forbearance may see extra savings.

Image of Average student debt burden at the end of 2023

– 

Want to explore the report on your own? Request a copy of the 2023 SLR Impact report here.

The Highway Team

The Highway Team is on a mission to spread knowledge about student loans, the state of the student debt crisis, and impactful benefits like employer student loan repayments. We're here as a helpful resources so drop us a line anytime. Find us on all the major channels as @highwaybenefits

Your next read.

Student loan debt among physical therapists in the US

Student loan debt among physical therapists in the US

It’s Benefits Season! Here are 5 benefits all HR professionals should know about for 2024.

It’s Benefits Season! Here are 5 benefits all HR professionals should know about for 2024.

Options for managing your student debt burden: student loan deferment and forbearance

Options for managing your student debt burden: student loan deferment and forbearance

Footer illustration for student loan repayments