A lot has changed.
That phrase can be used for a number of things. Take for example how we consume music. No longer do we purchase cassette tapes to play on massive boomboxes, but rather, we can download virtually any song at any minute. A lot has changed.
This can also be true about higher education. I’m not alone when I think the cost of tuition today is not what I spent 25 years ago – the average tuition and fees for a four-year, private college has skyrocketed to a yearly cost of $34,740. And while tuition is steadily growing, financial aid isn’t necessarily covering the gap. Grants and tax benefits are not necessarily increasing with the costs of attending college, making an advanced degree even more difficult to finance. This is a problem. But like most challenges, there’s not one simple solution and multiple constituents are involved. However, I believe as an employer, we can help address the reality of student debt that may be facing our employees.
A college degree is an invaluable investment; a hard-earned accomplishment that cannot be taken away. However, that’s a daunting reality when adults may still be paying off on this “invaluable investment” well into their 30s, 40s, or 50s. And by the time their personal student loans are repaid, it will then be time for their kids to go to college. As a leader, I feel we can do more to help our employees face this somewhat “taboo” topic. Let’s openly talk about adults having student loans; after all, studies show this is a prevalent situation. It is a problem both for our existing workforce and our recruitment pool – today’s graduates are entering the workforce with more student loan debt than any past generation.
As employers, we can be committed to the health of our employees. This can mean more than offering medical benefits and paid parental leave; it could mean assisting with their financial health. Accounting is dependent on advanced education and training – eligibility for the CPA exam requires 150 college credit hours. Leaders can address student loans and be prepared to invest in their workforce for the ultimate return of happier, more engaged employees.
Apple Growth Partners is proud to partner with Silver Lion Student Loan Advisors, financial counselors dedicated to customizing student loan repayment programs that work with adults. Our firm will be covering the initial plan set up cost of up to $600 for qualifying employees. Federal student loans can be possibly consolidated or refinanced for lower monthly payments, easing the financial stress personnel may be facing at home. AGP believes by dedicating money and resources to our employees, the advantage not only affects the employee’s monthly student loan payment, but also contributes to the betterment of our company culture, clients and community.
As leaders, we want to see our businesses thrive. It always starts with people, no exceptions. By constantly helping employees improve their daily lives, bit by bit, we as employers can contribute to the success of not only our businesses, but the overall well-being of our surrounding community.