It's a problem we're hearing about too often: people struggling under the weight of student loans and forced to make tough financial choices around saving for retirement and planning for major life events. While Fidelity hasn't always been in the student loan business, we saw it was a challenge that needed a new approach.
First, we looked within: what do our employees need? We know that attracting a competitive workforce means helping employees succeed inside and outside the office. Our recently launched Step Ahead Student Loan Assistance Program provides to eligible employees a monthly subsidy—a maximum of $10,000 per borrower—toward the employee's student loans, untethered to retention. More than 5,000 Fidelity associates have enrolled in the program since its launch.
In conversations with our customers, we realized it was time for a new approach to helping people manage their student loan debt to open up saving for other priorities. Fidelity's research and development team is testing resources to help borrowers understand their student loans and repayment options. Calculators and visual scenario planning give borrowers insight into how they can be helped by programs like federal repayment plans and private refinancing.
As for the millions of others who are putting off life to pay off their loans: we want to help. Where appropriate, we share data and insights we've gathered from our employees and workplace plan participants that may help policymakers engage on this pressing issue. As a firm, we continue to support efforts to make student loan debt easier to understand and less of a burden on today's workforce.