In a recent article, Gradifi announced that it had been chosen by Bentley School to offer monthly student loan contributions to its faculty members.

The school will implement the Student Loan Paydown (SLP) Plan, which allows employers to make monthly contributions toward their employees’ student loan debt. Staff members will also have the option to refinance their student loans at a lower rate.

According to Gradifi’s CEO Tim DeMello, this is significant because it shows that “Bentley also understands that offering student loan relief is one of the best ways to compete effectively for educators, particularly given the acute shortage of highly qualified teachers.”

Arlene Hogan, head of Bentley School, said that the school is excited about its partnership with Gradifi. "Our students are the direct beneficiaries of their professional development, and our school community is strengthened by our faculty’s dedication and self-determination to be the best for Bentley.”

Located in Oakland, California, Bentley School is one of the first K-12 schools to offer its faculty members student loan relief through Gradifi. It remains to be seen if more schools choose to follow Bentley School’s lead, and if so, what effect this could have on teachers with student loan debt.

The new development in employer-provided student loan repayment benefits is part of a growing trend in the United States alongside the growing recognition of the burden that is student loan debt. More and more companies are starting to take up the idea that a student debt repayment benefit is instrumental to recruiting and retaining new, skilled employees.

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Student loan debt is a real concern for many Americans; over 44 million borrowers owe more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. In 2016, the average graduate left school with around $28,000 in student loan debt. This causes many borrowers, including school teachers, to put off major life milestones like buying a home or starting a family, choosing to focus on student debt.

American Student Assistance conducted a survey of more than 500 employees between the ages of 22 and 33. The results showed that 59 percent of employees are focused on paying off their student loan debt as opposed to the 41 percent who prioritize saving for retirement.

Gradifi’s data shows that by implementing their SLP Plan, employee retention rises by 13 percent, from 40 to 53 percent. Additionally, employee satisfaction at work rises from 49 to 74 percent. And by making a $100 monthly contribution toward a loan, employers can help their employees pay off those loans up to 25 percent faster.

Gradifi is a Boston-based company that provides student loan repayment solutions for employers across the country. Over 200 employers across the United States have already chosen to work with Gradifi. This list includes innovative companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Penguin Random House.