Employee Choice

Allow eligible employees to use company-matched funds for student loan repayment, helping pay down their debt from education loans without a significant impact on your employee benefits budget.

Product Features & Benefits

  • Empower employees to manage match funds to best fit their financial goals
  • Employer matched funds can be directed to student loans, retirement savings or a combination of both
  • Compatible with all 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans
  • Companies can offer student loan repayment without a significant increase to their employee benefits allocation
  • Implementation is simple and requires no changes to your company’s retirement plan benefits

How It Works

  1. 1. selecting employee benefits checklist icon

    Employee Makes Their Election

    An employee allocates their matching dollars in one of three ways: a traditional retirement plan, student loan repayment or denoting a certain percentage toward both. After the employee chooses their allocation percentages, they register their student loans.

  2. 2. employers and employee input on benefits icon

    BenefitEd Processes the Allocated Amounts

    After an employee enrolls, BenefitEd calculates the amount for payroll deduction and employer matching, ensuring elections follow the employee benefits plan. The employer withholds the deduction and applies matching funds in one lump sum. BenefitEd processes and applies payment to each employee’s student loan.

  3. 3. student loan assistance preference icon

    Available Amount Is Same as Current Matching Dollars

    The total amount available for employer match is governed by the company’s existing retirement plan. There’s no increase to an employer in terms of the dollars currently allocated toward matching benefits. For example: if the current match is 1:1 up to 5%, it will still only match the dollar amount of that percentage regardless of how the employee chooses to distribute the funds.

Employer Matching with Employee Choice

With Employee Choice from BenefitEd, your employees have complete control of how they want to allocate their employee-matched funds. That’s great for employees, but how does it work for you? Here are a few examples.

These examples are based on a 5% employer match and a $60,000 salary

Employer contributes $0 to employee retirement plan and $3,000 to student loans annually.

100% Student Loan Contribution
Retirement Plan Student Loan
Employee Contributes 0% 5% ($250/month)
Employer Match 0% 5% ($250/month)

Employer contributes $0 to employee student loans and $3,000 to retirement plan annually.

100% Retirement Plan Contribution
Retirement Plan Student Loan
Employee Contributes 5% ($250/month) 0%
Employer Match 5% ($250/month) 0%

Employer contributes $1,800 to employee retirement plan and $1,200 to student loans annually. Retirement plan contributions must be matched before student loan contributions can be applied.

Retirement Plan/Student Loan Split
Retirement Plan Student Loan
Employee Contributes 3% ($150/month) 5% ($250/month)
Employer Match 3% ($150/month) 2% ($100/month)

Getting started with Employee Choice is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Employees Elect Allocation

    Company contributions mirror current retirement plans, but employees are able to make changes to their benefit election amounts. Once employees set their elections, the change takes place the following month.

    • Direct all toward student loans: An employee can contribute the full amount up to the plan maximum to their student loan repayment.
    • Direct all toward retirement plan: An employee can contribute the full amount up to the plan maximum to the company retirement plan.
    • Direct contributions to both: An employee can split the benefit and contributions are allocated between programs.
  2. Easy Benefit Plan Implementation

    BenefitEd will provide outreach to employees to onboard them into the Employee Choice program. We’ll also email employees when deposits are made, and let them know when they can expect to see payments.

    • The company provides the employee enrollment file. We then enroll eligible employees and collect their student loan information.
    • Employer verifies employee status and provides lump sum payment.
    • BenefitEd distributes the payment to employee accounts through various loan servicers.
  3. Benefit Enrollment Reporting and Retention Results

    BenefitEd provides tracking to show the impact of the Employee Choice plan on employee retention.

    • Monthly enrollment reports available.
    • Employees receive email confirmation of payments and/or deductions, which reinforces the value of the benefits program with each paycheck.

Ready to see what BenefitEd can do for you?

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Do I need to amend my Retirement Plan Summary Document?

No. Student loan repayment — and any 529 plan contributions — is separate from your Retirement Plan. You shouldn’t need to update or modify your Retirement Summary Plan Document (SPD).

Does the Student Loan Payment or Employee Choice service become part of my Retirement Benefits Plan?

No. They are separate and distinct benefit plan services. However, you may distribute the employer contributions between the two programs and implement a cap by aggregating total employer contributions within both offerings. The Retirement Plan participation and related employer match are separate from Employee Choice and the related student loan payment offering.

Does this benefit require changes during annual open enrollment?

Your Retirement Plan document governs the timing of employee enrollment and allowed contribution changes. It should be flexible as circumstances change. You may allow employees to change their contributions to the Student Loan Payment as often as monthly, or you may allow less frequent changes (this is at your discretion). As neither benefits program is required to be an annual election, there is significant flexibility in how you implement it.

Do you have a Student Loan Payment plan document that our company could review?

Yes. You may also want to provide it to employees. This will help them fully understand how their distribution might affect their employer match contributions between Retirement Plans and student loan debt repayments. There are different tax consequences for each.

If our Retirement Plan is a safe harbor plan, what is the impact of also offering Employee Choice?

Employee Choice will not affect your Retirement Plan or its qualification as a safe harbor plan. Any employee contributions directed to the Retirement Plan will have a company match, in accordance with your Retirement Plan documents. If you offer Employee Choice and there are company match dollars available to be contributed to the Student Loan Repayment program, they will be deposited accordingly.