NJ hospital now helping employees pay off student loans
Myriah Di Petrillo still owes $15,000 for her bachelor's degree in nursing.
But thanks to a new perk offered by her employer, that loan will shrink much quicker than it has for the past three years.
This month, Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck begins contributing $125 per month toward Di Petrillo's student loans. With an announcement on June 5, the Bergen County hospital became part of the just 4% of U.S. employers who offer this type of benefit.
"I think that it's great and I think a lot of people will be taking hold of this," Di Petrillo said. "It only took me a few minutes to set up."
Di Petrillo, 25, also puts out $195 a month herself to pay down student loan debt.
Holy Name's Student Loan Repayment Assistance program is available to full-time and part-time benefit-eligible employees who were hired on or after June 3, 2016. This October will mark three years for Di Petrillo as a registered nurse at Holy Name.
"This contribution each month will help me not only pay for my undergrad loans but also help me take care of my graduate loans as well," the Hawthorne resident said. "It will help me pay off my loans a lot faster."
The company is contributing up to $5,000 annually toward each eligible worker's higher education student loan, depending on how long the individual has been with the hospital.
"We are thrilled to offer this chance to help reduce student loan debt for employees and will continue to come up with innovative ways to support the staff who support our mission," said Manny Gonzalez, vice president of human resources at Holy Name. "It's one of the many reasons why this place is different."
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association said it's seeing more examples in New Jersey and nationwide of companies providing loan repayment as a benefit to recruit and retain employees. But companies are assessed taxes on doing so, which limits who can or is willing to offer the benefit.
Legislation on the federal level would let employers offer tax-free student loan assistance up to $5,250 annually per employee. That's the same amount currently treated as tax-exempt for employer-paid tuition assistance.
The student loan debt load is estimated at $1.5 trillion in the United States.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.