Adidas has joined the ranks of companies offering their employees student loan assistance benefits. The iconic sportswear company, which employs roughly 10,000 US workers and reported $23.71 billion in revenue in 2022, announced the perk in early June, just a few weeks before the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden's plan to provide borrowers up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness.
Adidas will contribute up to $100 a month toward the loan payments of eligible full-time employees in any division, including retail, distribution and corporate.
"Paying for education should not hold our teammates back, so we are happy to support them with this benefit," Rupert Campbell, president of Adidas North America, said in a statement.
Edward Gottfried, director of product management at Betterment at Work, says the recent Supreme Court case and the end of the payment pause in October have put student loan assistance "at the forefront of benefits discussions."
Betterment is one of several companies that manage student loan benefit solutions for employers. Others include SoFi at Work, Vault, Gradifi, Tuition.io and Highway.
According to Betterment's research, 57% of employees think their bosses should help them pay off their education loans. And 85% said they'd leave their current job for one that offered more financial support for student loans.
On the flip side, 86% of workers said they'd stick with a company for five years if it meant they could take advantage of a student loan repayment perk.
"Companies that want to stand apart from the pack and show workers they care about alleviating financial burdens should consider exploring new and innovative benefits they can offer to support borrowers," Gottfried said via email.
The volatile economic turns of the past few years have led employers to curtail their benefits budgets, Gottfried said, so companies need to make sure that what they do offer aligns with what employees want.
"Our data shows that while demand for traditional benefits, like a 401(k), remains strong, employees are also heavily prioritizing emerging benefits like student loan matching programs," he said. "By offering the benefits employees are craving, HR teams can maximize budgets while also boosting employee satisfaction in today's economy."
Read on: The Supreme Court Struck Down Student Loan Forgiveness. What Should Borrowers Do Now?
How does student loan assistance work?
Benefits vary from company to company, and employers may have different offerings depending on position or seniority. But the typical plan offers matching funds or a predetermined recurring monthly payment toward your loan, either from the company or a benefits provider like Gradifi or Betterment.
There's typically a maximum dollar amount you can receive and some employers require a minimum amount of time on the job. If you have multiple loans, the funds may be directed toward the largest one or the one closest to being fully paid off.
Not all workers have student loans, of course, and education benefits can take various forms, from tuition reimbursement to college savings accounts for employees with children.
18 companies that offer student loan repayment benefits
According to a June 2023 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, only 8% of employers offer a student loan benefit. But experts say that number is growing as employers try to attract and retain quality candidates.
"It's becoming more common -- not just among Fortune 500 corporations, but midsize and smaller companies too," Betterment at Work general manager Kristen Carlisle told CNET. "Employees are asking for it. Bottom-up demand is shaping the narrative."
Here is a sampling of well-known companies and the benefits they offer.
The athleticwear company offers full-time employees who have been on staff for at least a year $100 a month toward their outstanding student loan debt.
Explore job openings at Adidas.
The health insurance company will match student loan payments for full- and part-time employees, up to $2,000 annually. There is a lifetime maximum of $10,000.
Explore job openings at Aetna.
Working with Gradifi, Carvana contributes up to $1,000 a year to help pay down the student loans of full-time employees.
Explore job openings at Carvana.
Estée Lauder -- which owns Clinique, MAC Cosmetics and Origins -- provides a monthly $100 contribution toward full-time employees' student loan payments, with a $10,000 cap.
Explore job openings at Estée Lauder.
Employees working at least 30 hours per week can earn $180 monthly contributions toward their student loans, with a cap of $15,000.
Those working between 20 and 29 hours are eligible for up to $89 per month, capped at $7,500.
Explore job openings at Fidelity Investments.
First Republic works with Gradifi to offer $100 monthly student loan payments that increase the longer the benefit is used, up to $200 per month. There's no lifetime cap -- you can stay in the program until your loan is fully paid.
Explore job openings at First Republic.
The search giant will match staffers' student loan payments, up to $2,500 per year.
Explore job openings at Google.
In 2020, this Connecticut-based investment and insurance company began offering contributions to eligible employees' student loans in partnership with Gradifi. Eligible enrolled employees can access $125 supplemental payments toward their loans, with a lifetime cap of $10,000.
Explore job openings at The Hartford.
Employees can receive $100 a month toward their student loans, with a $6,000 cap.
Explore job openings at Hulu.
After six months on the job, full-time Live Nation employees are eligible for $100 a month in student loan repayment assistance for up to five years or $6,000, whichever comes first.
Explore job openings at Live Nation.
New York Life
New York Life partnered with Vault to contribute $170 a month toward employees' student loans for up to five years, for a total of up to $10,200 in repayment assistance.
Explore job openings at New York Life.
Peloton will contribute $100 a month toward employees' student loan payments through a partnership with Gradifi.
Explore job openings at Peloton.
Working with Gradifi, the publisher offers full-time employees who have been with the company for one year up to $1,200 annually in repayment benefits, with a cap of $9,000.
Explore job openings at Penguin RandomHouse.
PwC associates can receive up to $1,200 toward their student loans annually for up to six years, or until they're promoted to a managerial role.
Explore job openings at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
SoFi employees have been able to get $200 per month applied toward their student loans since 2016, with no annual or lifetime cap.
Explore job openings at SoFi
The office-supply superstore is working with Tuition.io to offer $100 a month of student loan repayments to top performers nominated by their managers, capped at $3,600.
The benefit is also available to new hires on Staples' business-to-business sales team.
Explore job openings at Staples.
The US Government
The largest employer in the US, the federal government offers student loan repayment assistance to employees with a balance of at least $5,000 through the Federal Student Loan Repayment Program.
Qualified workers who've been employed by the government for at least three years can receive up to $10,000 a year in assistance for up to three years or until their loan is paid off.
Explore job openings with the federal government.
Since 2017, eligible employees at Western Union have been able to receive $50 monthly contributions toward the principal balance of their student loans. Contributions are sent via Gradifi directly to the employee's loan provider.
Explore job openings at Western Union
Changes in the law are helping student loan assistance
The 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act finally enabled employers to make tax-free contributions of up to $5,250 a year toward employees' student loans through 2025.
The 2019 Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act allowed workers to set up tax-advantaged 529 accounts with up to $10,000 a year for student loan repayments. Signed into law in December 2022, the followup SECURE Act 2.0 will allow employers to make tax-free 401(k) contributions that directly match their workers' student loan payments.
It goes into effect next year.
More companies are adopting loan relief benefits
According to a 2022 survey from the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute, just 17% of companies reported offering student loan debt assistance in 2021. Last year, that figure rose to 25%.
Craig Copeland, EBRI's director of wealth benefits research, said interest is continuing to grow as we move away from the peak of the pandemic.
"Employers still need to be creative to attract and retain workers in the current tight labor market," Copeland told CNET. Even if a company isn't in the best financial shape, Copeland added, a loan assistance program can ultimately cost less than having to replace critical employees.
"Student loans are a very big concern," he said. "With repayments starting in October and forgiveness being disallowed, employers can distinguish themselves -- or keep up with their competition -- by adding student loan assistance benefits."
What if my company doesn't offer loan assistance?
With interest and payments starting up again, now is a great time to bring up student loan repayment benefits with your employer.
"Go to your People team and ask them if they're thinking about it," Carlisle said. "Explain why it could help the entire company and maybe come to the table with some provider names."
If your company is unionized, it could be something to discuss with your representative
And if it's just not on the table, you can always look for a new job.
At the very least, don't underestimate how beneficial this perk can be: On average, employees with undergraduate student debt have half the 401(k) balance of their unburdened colleagues, the Society for Human Resource Management reported.
What to keep in mind
Adoption of student loan assistance as an employee benefit is still slow, and legislation is only now taking effect that makes it easier for companies to get on board.
"COVID kind of paused everything, with companies focused on emergency situations and health care," said EBRI's Copeland. "Now, the focus is coming back around."
Right now, debt consolidation plans are more common, mainly because they don't require employers to make continuous contributions.
"You'll probably get a better interest rate," Copeland said of consolidation. "The downside is that your loan will be privatized," which will make it ineligible for any future payment pauses or debt forgiveness by the federal government.
"You just have to understand what you're getting into," Copeland said.
For more on student loans, find out when payments will resume, who your student loan provider is and what the Biden administration is doing next to address student debt.