Last year only 4% of employers provided student loan assistance to their workforce, yet 80% of employees with student debt wanted to work for a company that provided such a program.

Because student loan repayment is still a relatively new benefit that companies can offer, many of them don’t even realize that it’s available for their employees. To get this benefit under your company’s radar, you and your coworkers should let your employer know how valuable student loan repayment would be for your financial well-being. A simple conversation can lead to big results.

We’ve outlined three easy steps that can help you initiate a constructive and fruitful conversation with your employer about how they, too, can join the ranks of some of the best companies in the world by providing a student loan assistance program.

Step 1: Turn informal conversation into action

It’s time to take those casual water cooler chats with your coworkers to the next level.

Talk about the potential advantages of student loan assistance to your coworkers who may not be familiar with the perk—even (and perhaps especially) those not currently struggling with student debt, such as how it can:

  • Reduce the overall cost of a student loan
  • Trim years of repayment time from your total paydown period
  • Increase discretionary funds to devote to other financial priorities, like retirement

Having a diverse group of employees with differing perspectives and stories on board can only help strengthen your case.

Step 2: Put it in writing

If it sounds like a lot of your coworkers would benefit from a student loan repayment program at your company, it’s time to put that collective desire into writing. You don’t need to write a long letter to HR with citations and references. All you need to do is explain how you and your fellow employees have talked about how student loan repayment would benefit your financial well-being.

You should include information about how employees are more eager for student loan repayment than any other benefit today, and that this benefit can make a significant impact on turnover and retention rates.  

Other benefits to highlight include positioning student loan repayment as:

  • A competitive advantage—staying up to date with the latest employer perks is the best way to attract and retain the industry’s top talent, making the company more competitive as a whole
  • A major boost to existing employees currently paying off student debt
  • A minor expense to the company relative to other employee perks

Once you’ve written a brief letter, ask your coworkers if they’d be willing to support your letter with their signatures. Having multiple employees supporting your letter will help HR take your suggestion seriously.

3) Present the letter to HR

HR teams are also always on the lookout for ideas that could improve the employee experience and typically solicit feedback from staff on a regular basis. Schedule a time to talk about your letter with them. In doing so, you will offer a new way for HR to keep employees happy, healthy and loyal. You might be surprised by how much support you get from HR and how they can elevate your case to the leadership team at your company. 

Remember, the only thing preventing a student loan repayment assistance program from becoming a reality at your company may simply be the lack of awareness about this benefit from your employer’s decision-makers. Communicating with HR can have a significant impact not only on the lives and careers of yourself and your coworkers, but also on the company itself.