Advocates urge employers to fight for student loan legislation

September 20, 2017

PUBLISHED BY Amanda Eisenberg

SOURCE Benefit News

With student loan debt topping more than $1.4 trillion in the United States, advocates are urging employers to fight for a tax-exempt student loan assistance benefit as tax reform efforts ramp up in Washington.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) joined CEO Scott Thompson on Wednesday to discuss his bill, the Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act, at Employee Benefit News’ Benefits Forum & Expo in Boca Raton, Fla.

The bill, H.R. 795, would expand Section 127 of the IRS Code, to count student loan repayment benefits as tax-exempt educational expenses. It would let employers make up to a $5,250-per-employee tax-free contribution toward their workers’ student loans.

“This is a bill to help [college graduates] when they get out,” Davis said. “It’s not a chance for colleges to charge more” because employers will pay for those costs once students are hired.

Companies such as Aetna and PwC offer student loan benefits for up to $10,000and $7,200, respectively; however, employees pay taxes on those benefits.

If the bill becomes law, companies might require employees to make their primary payment to receive the benefit, Thompson said. Employees are more likely to make those payments if they’re also receiving an additional monthly contribution from their employers to pay down the principal balance.

Read the full article on Benefit News here.