If your organization is eager to lure younger talent, the average 2006 college graduate owes $20,000 in student loans. That's why a growing number of organizations are turning student debt into a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining recent grads. Examples:
- Federal agencies can repay employees up to $10,000 in student loans each year—and $60,000 total. In return, employees must agree to stay with the agency for at least three years.
- The Minnesota state government pays large portions of student loans for pharmacists who agree to take jobs in rural areas.
- Wyoming repays up to $12,000 in student loans for graduates of University of Wyoming programs in special education, math or science who agree to work in the state for at least two years.
- Kennedy Krieger Institute, a children's hospital in Baltimore, offers to repay student loans up to about $10,000.
Tips: Never offer that repayment in one lump sum; attach some strings. Encourage retention by offering to repay a portion of students' debt gradually over the time they remain with your company. Consider a provision that requires them to pay back any amounts if they quit within a year or two.