$74.9 Million Paid in Employee Student Loan Benefits

August 16, 2019 12:17 PM , Updated August 28, 2019 7:43 AM
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Available Student Loan Repayment Benefits

Federal agencies are allowed to establish programs for repayment of various types of student loans in order to recruit or retain highly-qualified agency employees. A federal agency can make payments to a loan holder of up to $10,000 for an employee in a calendar year. There is an aggregate maximum of $60,000 for any single employee.

Employee Obligations

To receive this benefit, an employee must sign an agreement to remain employed by the agency making the payment for at least 3 years. If the employee leaves the agency voluntarily or is separated involuntarily for misconduct, unacceptable performance, or a negative suitability determination before fulfilling the service agreement, the student loan repayment benefits that were received have to be repaid.

According to a report from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), agencies are using this legal authority to benefit federal employees.

About $75 Million in Benefits in One Year

In calendar year 2017, 34 Federal agencies provided 10,206 employees with more than $74.9 million in student loan repayment benefits. This is a 3.4 percent increase in federal employees receiving student loan repayment benefits compared to the previous year. It is also a 4.6 percent increase in agencies’ overall financial investment in this program.

More than 80% of the overall cost of these repayment benefits was provided by seven agencies (ranked by number of employees approved for participation):

  • Defense
  • Justice
  • State
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Health and Human Services
  • Veterans Affairs, and
  • Housing and Urban Development.

These agencies paid 79.5 percent of all student loan repayment recipients to federal employees. These agencies paid 8,118 employees with $60.9 million in student loan repayment benefits. The remaining 27 agencies reporting to OPM provided 2,088 employees with $14 million in student loan repayments.

© 2020 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

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About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47

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