Would you trade your vacation days in exchange for cash to help pay off your student loans?
This Fortune 500 company is betting that you might.
Here’s what you need to know.
Student Loan Debt Statistics
Student loan debt in the U.S. continues to soar. Today, student loan debt is the second highest consumer debt category, second only to mortgages. The latest student loan debt statistics from Make Lemonade peg outstanding student loan debt at $1.5 trillion, with more than 44 million Americans owing money on their student loans.
According to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, student loan debt is now a “crisis.” According to remarks last November, student loan debt has tripled since 2007 and has risen by $500 billion since 2013.
One company has a unique idea to help employees pay off student loan debt.
The Proposal: Student Loan Repayment
Unum, a publicly-traded insurance company based in Tennessee, announced a new student loan debt relief program for its employees. Starting next year, Unum’s U.S. employees with student loans can exchange their carry-over paid time off (“vacation days”) for a payment toward their student loans. This new student loan debt program will be managed by Fidelity Investments. The program is also available to parents who borrowed educational loans for their children such as Parent PLUS Loans.
Here’s how the student loan debt relief program works:
- Each full-time Unum employee receives at least 28 days of paid time off per year.
- At the end of each year, employees can carry over up to five days, or 40 hours, of their unused vacation days.
- Starting in January 2020, Unum employees with student loans can receive a payment for student loan debt equal to up to five days of vacation days.