WASHINGTON — Virginia's Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) introduced legislation to help Americans tackle their student loan debt.
The bill, Employer Participation in Repayment Act, would allow employers to contribute up to $5,250 tax-free to their employees’ student loans. They would provide employees with much-needed relief and employers with a unique tool to attract and retain talented employees.
“As the first in my family to graduate from college, I wouldn’t have been able to afford my college tuition without the help of student loans,” said Sen. Warner. “Unfortunately as the cost of higher education continues to skyrocket, so has the rate of Americans who turn to student loans to pay for college. Today too many Americans are saddled with tough-to-manage student loan debt, with no end in sight. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Sen. Thune to create an innovative, bipartisan approach to help ease the burden of student loans. By making employer student loan repayments tax-exempt, employers will have a new tool to recruit and retain a talented workforce while also helping working Americans manage their financial future.”
According to reports, one in four Americans have student loans, and student debt has reached $1.5 trillion in 2018.
Under current law, Employer Participation in Repayment Act only provides assistance for workers who are looking for additional education, not individuals who have already incurred student loan debt during their undergraduate or graduate studies.
The new bill would expand the program to allow employers to contribute money toward their employees' student loans.
The legislation has also been introduced to the House by Reps. Scott Peters and (D-CA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL).