CSAA Helps Its Employees Pay Down Student Debt and Save for Retirement

Employees must contribute 2% of their salaries to the retirement plan, which then allows them to direct up to 4% of their employer match to pay down their student debt.

CSAA Insurance Group (CSAA IG), a AAA insurer, has launched a new benefit to help its employees pay down their student loans while saving for retirement.

Called “Employee Choice Plan,” the program requires employees to contribute at least 2% to CSAA’s 401(k) plan, which then permits them to direct up to 4% of their employer match benefit to pay down their student debt.

“We take a holistic view of wellness at CSAA IG, which includes providing employees tools and resources to build financial stability,” says Kristin Utler, compensation and benefits executive at the firm. “Student loan debt can burden people for years, and if we can offer employees help to manage their student debt, while getting them in the practice of contributing to a retirement account, it’s a win for everyone.”

Tuition.io, a platform for employee student loan contributions, handles the transfer of the matches to pay down employees’ student debt. Since the Employee Choice Plan launched in January, 230 CSAA Insurance Group employees have signed up for the program. Sixty-five percent of them are Millennials. The insurer says 60% of its employees are contributing to the 401(k) for the first time or were not taking full advantage of the company’s 6% match prior to the program.

CSAA Insurance Group points to a survey by the Center for Retirement Research that found Americans have racked up $1.5 trillion in student debt and that those who are carrying such debt have 50% less saved for retirement by age 30 than those who do not have any student loan debt.

With employers recognizing the student debt problem among their employees and the issuance of an IRS private letter ruling approving an employer’s retirement plan design to help employees pay off student loans while also saving for retirement, student loan repayment benefits are poised for widespread adoption. Recently, the Travelers Companies announced a program for its employees which will allow payments that U.S. employees make toward their student loans to be eligible for the company’s 401(k) match.