If you have employees that are currently in the process of paying their student loans, this portion of your workforce will be facing a unique set of challenges. As an employer, understanding the role student loans play in your employees’ lives can help you to better assist them and can guide your company’s decisions going forward. Unfortunately, student loan debt is a reality for most college graduates. In fact, student loan debt is at an all-time high in America. In the first quarter of 2018, the total outstanding student loan debt equaled $1.521 trillion, a larger amount than ever before.

This hefty burden is carried by graduates spanning an array of fields. It is very likely that part of your workforce is carrying around cumbersome student loan debt. It is important for you to understand how this factors into your employees’ lives and what you can do to help this portion of your workforce succeed. Read on to find out more about what student loan debt means for your staff and what ways you can assist them in becoming debt free.

The “Student Loan Effect”

With student loans being extremely common among college graduates, the repercussions of this debt will undoubtedly affect your workforce. Different people will handle this debt in different ways, but the following are some of the normal effects these loans will cause in the lives of your employees.

Higher Levels Of Stress

When it comes to stress, every single one of us faces a myriad of stressors in our day to day life. Almost no human is immune to stress, however, there are factors that lead to increased levels of stress and worse effects due to that stress. In fact, according to an article by CNBC, more than 60 percent of a surveyed group of people with student loan debt reported that they suffer from extreme worry and even physical calamities, such as lack of sleep and headaches due to their debt.

What does this higher level of stress mean for you as an employer?

High levels of stress are proven to be a direct link in worsened health, both physically and mentally. This means the portion of your workforce with student debt will have more health-related absences and struggle under normal work stress.

If your employees already have financial stress, additional work-related stress can cause the mental breaking point. Not only that, but one person under mental duress can lower the morale of others. While some stress at work can be motivational, too much stress on an individual can have the opposite effect.


Student loan debt can be such a massive burden that employees are forced to look for secondary employment. This can lead to employees who are leaving your office and going on to pull a late shift as a bartender or spending their weekends working a side job.

What does moonlighting mean for you as an employer?

When someone works multiple jobs, it can be hard for them to apply the same dedication as an employee who works strictly for you. In the end, this extra work will lead to further exhaustion and can thwart your employees’ ability to pour their entire drive into your business. While it is not ideal for someone to be working more than a full-time job, it is often necessary for those bridled by student debt.

Putting Off Milestones

In the same article by CNBC, it discusses the impact student loans have on life decisions for workers. Many milestones are pushed back significantly, such as getting married, buying a home, having children, or even taking regular vacations. When people struggle to pay their monthly bills, it can be impossible to get ahead or save for the future.

What does this mean for you as an employer?

When you have employees that cannot purchase homes or gain a feeling of settling down in the area, you may see higher turnover rates. Many Millennials are moving to areas with a lower cost of living and more job opportunities. As an employer, it is far better to have employees who can purchase a home and settle into your local community. This will lead to a more stable work environment and less turnover.

How Employers Can Break “The Student Loan Effect”

While your company does not have the ability to completely wipe all your employees’ student debt off the slate, there are ways you can help relieve the burden. Not only will you be doing good, but your company will benefit from employees with less stress, illness, and distraction.

Offer A Student Loan Benefit Program

The best way to ease the burden of student loans is to offer a student loan benefit program. By offering employees assistance managing their student loan repayment, you can help them reach a debt-free future faster.

This is mutually beneficial to both your employees and your company. You will find your employees are far less stressed, more productive, and increasingly loyal to your business as you help them pay off their student loan debt. Not only will it help with existing employees, but it can give you a competitive edge during your next hiring cycle.

If you are interested in learning more about how IonTuition works and how you can offer your employees a student loan benefit program, we invite you to reach out to our team.