We would be remiss to end the year without sharing what to expect from our industry for 2020. Even before the election year begins, student loan debt is already under a political spotlight, but whether any action is likely to be taken is still unclear.

Here are IonTuition’s predictions for the upcoming 12 months.

The IRS will Provide Formal Guidance over PLR Style Contribution Programs

We already know that the IRS plans to provide formal guidance over retirement contributions tied to employee student loan repayment as outlined in 2018’s Private Letter Ruling to Abbott Laboratories. Companies should expect the IRS to allow all employers to make retirement contributions conditional to workers repaying student loan debt.

#CancelStudentDebt will Fizzle Out

Among the Democratic presidential primary candidates are a number of plans on how to handle our national student loan debt. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both suggested canceling student debt altogether and many of the candidates are in support of tuition-free college, especially for low income students.

While this discussion is long overdue, we predict no action on student loan debt or college tuition will be taken this year and we hesitate to say much will change even after the election. If anything, we hope applications for student loan forgiveness will be properly processed, and a consolidated, simplified income-driven repayment plan is created to replace the current structure of four different plans.

ISAs will Gain Traction

Income share agreements (ISAs) are gaining attention from Congress as more institutions adopt ISAs as a form of financial aid. The concern is that students may get taken advantage of since ISAs are not regulated by the federal government. If stigma over student loans continues to grow, more students and schools may see ISAs as a viable alternative.

More Small and Midsize Companies will Adopt Student Loan Benefits

Student loan benefits are an effective way for companies to gain an advantage in recruiting and retaining talent. As a low-cost, high return benefit we predict more small companies will offer student loan benefits as a way to compete for talent against larger firms.

In our survey last year, over half of respondents would consider student loan benefits the deciding factor over whether to accept a job at a new company. If the IRS does clear the way for retirement contributions to student debt holders, we predict small businesses to jump on board first.

Partner with IonTuition to expand your financial wellness program in 2020. Contact us today to schedule a demo.