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August 8, 2019

On heels of new CT tax credit, The Hartford to offset employees’ student loan debt

tax credits student loan debt Photo | Contributed A commencement ceremony at Middlesex Community College.

Property and casualty insurer The Hartford is looking to help its employees pay off student debt through a new student loan repayment program.

The insurance financial services company on Thursday announced in early 2020 it will begin providing its some 17,000 U.S.-based employees up to $10,000 toward student loan debt. Under the program, The Hartford said it will contribute funds directly to an employee’s loan provider.

The announcement comes more than a month after the state legislature passed a bill that will establish by 2022 a tax credit for employers that make payments on their employees’ student loans. 

The insurer’s student loan repayment program builds off another initiative the company launched in July, providing workers with student loan counseling and refinancing benefits in partnership with Boston-based financial services company Gradifi. The Hartford said it also offers tuition reimbursement for employees pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The Hartford’s new program this week comes amid soaring student debt nationally.

Debt volume across the U.S. peaked in the first quarter of 2019 at $1.41 trillion, according to a study by Experian. By comparison, the debt total stood at about $65 billion in 2009, Experian said.

“The increasing cost of student debt continues to be a concern for the country and our employees,” said Marty Gervasi, The Hartford’s chief human resources officer. “It is a financial burden that can cause a great deal of stress, and we want to help employees have more financial flexibility, enabling them to focus on their life and careers.”

By offering the student loan repayment program, The Hartford will be eligible to reap recently created state tax credits in 2022.

Individuals working at least 35 hours per week at a Connecticut company who refinance their student debt through the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority will be eligible, under the law.

Other major employers in Greater Hartford, including Travelers Cos. and Stanley Black & Decker, have also announced plans to offer student loan repayment assistance.

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