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SLRA Frequently Asked Questions

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General Information

  • What is Student Loan Repayment Assistance?

    Student Loan Repayment Assistance (SLRA) is one of the fastest growing employee benefits. It addresses the burden student loan debt places on today’s workforce and helps employers compete for top talent.

    An SLRA program allows employers to make payments toward their employees’ student loans. These payments reduce the total student loan amount paid, interest expense, and time it takes to pay off the debt.

    Annual employer contributions to an employee’s student loans of up to $5,250 are income tax-free for the employee and payroll tax-free for the employer through Dec. 31, 2025, when provided as part of an Educational Assistance Program.

  • What is the difference between SLRA and Tuition Reimbursement?

    Tuition reimbursement assists employees who are currently enrolled in school. Employers reimburse employees for tuition and expenses they are paying. SLRA supports staff that have taken out student loans to cover education expenses. Both Tuition Reimbursement and SLRA are income tax-free when offered through an eligible Education Assistance Program. 

  • What type of student loans are eligible for SLRA?

    All student loans (private and federal) that were obtained to pay for specific higher education expenses for an employee can be eligible for SLRA. This includes education loans that covered tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, and other necessary expenses. Loans taken out for the education of an employee's child but still in the employee's name, such as a Parent PLUS loan, are not eligible for the tax incentives, but if an employer chooses to, they can make payments on those loans as well.
  • What does “employer contribution” mean?

    An employer contribution is a payment that an employer funds and directs to an employee’s student loan. It is not a payroll deduction, nor is it a bonus. The amount varies per employer and can be determined at an employee level. The most common monthly contribution is $100 per employee participant. Check out our Matrix of Companies’ SLRA Offerings for an overview of other companies’ contributions. 

  • Can SLRA be included into an existing Education Assistance Program?

    Yes, it’s easy to add SLRA to an existing education assistance program. Section 127 of the IRS Tax Code outlines the criteria. The annual tax-free amount of $5,250 can be split between tuition reimbursement and SLRA. An employer’s SLRA contribution must be provided as part of a qualified Educational Assistance Program to be eligible for the tax-free status. 
  • Does Attigo offer a program for student loan repayment assistance?

    Yes, we provide a SaaS solution under the name Co-Pay Partners. It is one of the many Attigo products available to help employers and their employees regarding student loan repayment support.
  • As an employee, how can I get my employer to offer student loan repayment assistance?

    Let your HR team know you are interested in the benefit. Here is some information you can share.
  • Is Co-Pay Partners Mac/Apple compatible?

    Yes, the Co-Pay Partners platform is compliant with Apple systems. 
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Benefits of SLRA

  • What benefits does SLRA provide to an employer?

    Employers can use SLRA to attract candidates to certain positions, improve retention, and increase productivity. A student loan contribution helps ease the financial and emotional stress of managing debt. A SLRA program can align directly with your organization’s goals. For more information, check out our infographic to find out why SLRA is the third most in-demand benefit among employees right now.
  • What benefits does SLRA provide to an employee?

    Employer payments go directly to an employee’s student loan, which in turn helps them pay down their loans faster and gets them out of debt sooner. SLRA can also result in a reduction in workplace stress, a boost in productivity, and increased morale. A student loan paydown gives the opportunity for employees to achieve their financial goals which may not have been possible before. Check out our blog post: The Yin and Yang of Student Loan Debt and Employee Benefits for more insights. 
  • How do I show my leadership that this is a worthwhile program to invest in?

    Offering high-demand benefits, such as SLRA, increases your chances of retaining and attracting top talent. 80% of millennials stated they would strongly consider a job with a student loan repayment benefit over one without it. SLRA produces a high ROI by easily and quickly paying for itself, since it helps reduce turnover rates and therefore reduces all costs associated. Our ROI calculator can give you a personalized calculation on what your return on investment with SLRA can look like for your company. 

  • What are the tax benefits of SLRA?

    The CARES Act expanded the scope of Sec. 127 of the Internal Revenue Code, which addresses employer-paid tuition benefits. The CARES Act stipulated $5,250 for employers to annually contribute tax-free to tuition assistance and student loan repayment assistance. An employer can pay for all or part of an employee’s qualified education loan as a tax-free benefit, provided that benefit is part of an employer’s Education Assistance Program. The $5,250 cap is now the combined annual limit for education assistance payments.

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Creating a SLRA Benefit

  • What is the most common contribution amount?

    On average, we see contributions per employee range from $50-$450 per month. These amounts can also be adjusted for different groups and criteria such as position, seniority, or a custom set of requirements. You can always start small and adjust the amount over time as well. $100 per month seems to be the most common amount. 

  • What is the limit an employer can contribute to an employee’s student loan?

    There is no limit to the amount an employer can contribute towards an employee’s student loans. Education benefit payments up to $5,250 are tax-free for the employee and payroll tax-free for the employer (through Dec. 31, 2025) when offered as part of an education assistance program. However, employers can contribute beyond the threshold. Employers should consult with their tax advisor to determine how the overage would be handled.

  • How do I budget for the cost of SLRA?

    There are many ways to budget for an SLRA program. Oftentimes, employers set employee benefits on an annual cycle as part of the budget process. Some budgeting examples include utilizing unused corporate travel funds, redirecting unused health insurance contributions, diverting unused 401k company match dollars, or converting unused paid time off. 

  • How can I setup the benefit policy?

    If you already have an education assistance program (EAP), it’s easy to add SLRA into your existing policy. If not, we have resources to help you get started. We first suggest talking internally about your goals and how you would like to structure your EAP. Check out our Considerations for Implementing a SLRA Program worksheet to jumpstart your program.
  • Does Attigo offer a program for student loan repayment assistance?

    Yes, Co-Pay Partners is our SLRA product and is one of the many Attigo products available to support employers and employees regarding student loan debt. 
  • How can I get started with SLRA?

    You can contact us to request more information or setup a meeting with one of our experts. We’ve also created the Employer’s Guide to Student Loan Repayment Assistance which shares insight, templates, and step-by-step instructions on how to implement an SLRA program.
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Features through Co-Pay Partners

  • Can payments change or be customized for employees?

    Yes, the plan is fully customizable to what works best for your organization and can be changed if needed. During the setup process, we work with you to determine the payment amounts and frequencies that best suit your company. The platform supports tiered payments, set amounts, one-time payments, and more

  • How does onboarding work for Co-Pay Partners?

    Throughout the process, we work with you to gather and complete all necessary information to make the onboarding as easy as possible. Upon contract execution, we meet with you to discuss the next steps and go over the setup form. The form gathers simple information such as company name, logo, and demographic information. Once the form has been submitted, we create your account in Co-Pay Partners. When it is ready to go, we send you an invitation to enroll as an administrator and meet with you to give you an overview of all the functions to ensure a smooth process. The final step is to register your employees.

  • How long does it take to implement Co-Pay Partners?

    Typically, the process takes less than 30 days. Upon contract execution, we work with you on your account setup and your first SLRA payment could be as soon as the following month. The setup and first payment are based on how quickly we receive the completed setup form. We work with you through the whole process to ensure a smooth and effortless implementation.  

  • How much time does it take to administer the benefit each month?

    Most employers find it takes less than 10 minutes a month to administer the benefit.

  • What kind of support is included with Co-Pay Partners?

    Our support team works closely with you, your team, and your employee’s student loan servicer. From day one we are here to help with questions or needs that come up. We understand student loans can be complicated and are here to take the guess work out of the process.
  • What if my employees don’t know what type of loans they have or who their servicer is?

    For federal student loans, they can go to the Department of Education’s website. If your employees have private loans, checking their credit report to see the lender name or following up with their college could help them gather more information. During enrollment if they have any questions, we are happy to assist them.

  • Is there a minimum number of participants required for Co-Pay Partners?

    No, you can have as few as 1 employee all the way to 10,000 or more, we support businesses of all shapes and sizes. To find out more about our pricing, please contact us.  

  • Can you help us announce the benefit to our employees?

    Yes! We offer a communications toolkit which provides email templates, article posts, and digital ads for you to add to your intranet and link your HR policy when onboarding and introducing the benefit and more. 

  • How does loan verification work for employees?

    Employees will need to provide a statement from their student loan servicer from the last 90 days, as well as link their student loan account to Co-Pay Partners. This is a simple process that allows us to ensure the loan is for the employee and payments are made to the correct location. 
  • How does SLRA impact my employee’s monthly student loan payments?

    SLRA payments don’t replace the employee’s monthly payment. Employees are encouraged to keep making payments alongside any employer contributions to help reduce their overall student loan debt. Examples of the impact of employer contributions can be seen on page six of our Employer’s Guide to Student Loan Repayment Assistance e-book.
  • Can I meet with someone for a demo of Co-Pay Partners?

    We would be happy to meet with you and answer any questions you have. Use our Contact Us form, where you can request to schedule a demo with one of our experts or submit your questions. 
  • Why is it important for a Student Loan Repayment Assistance vendor to provide its customers the appropriate SOC Report?

    A SOC report is a document that provides assurance about the internal controls of a vendor that affect the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality or privacy of their system or the data they process or store. 

    Requesting a SOC report from your vendor can help you to:

    • Evaluate the vendor’s ability to meet your expectations and requirements regarding their service or product.
    • Assess the risks and potential impact of outsourcing a function or process to the vendor on your own operations and objectives.
    • Verify that the vendor has implemented and maintained effective controls to protect your data and system from unauthorized access, misuse, errors or fraud.
    • Comply with your own internal policies, regulations or standards that require you to monitor and review your vendors’ performance and controls.
    • Demonstrate to your stakeholders, customers, auditors or regulators that you have taken appropriate steps to ensure the quality and reliability of the services or products you receive from your vendors.

    The Co-Pay Partners is an information system-based service to administer an SLRA program. Co-Pay Partners is SOC3 Type II compliant.  Reports are available upon request. 

  • Who is responsible for handling payment discrepancies?

    Co-Pay Partners' support team is available for all the what-ifs. We take great pride in our customer service and will step in to resolve any issues that may arise in the payment application process. 
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What Attigo by Ascendium Offers

  • Why work with Attigo by Ascendium?

    The Co-Pay Partner’s solution is part of the Attigo Suite, created to help people reach their full potential. Our products support academic achievement, long-term financial wellness, and student loan repayment success. Attigo is provided by Ascendium Education Solutions, an affiliate of Ascendium Education Group. For over 55, years we’ve simplified the complex and provided expert insight and counseling. As the nation’s largest student loan guarantor, our knowledge of federal student loan regulations, policies and servicing has helped millions of people achieve repayment success. We’re a nonprofit organization whose philanthropic mission is to elevate opportunities and outcomes for learners from low-income backgrounds.

  • How does Attigo by Ascendium handle security?

    We have a strong commitment to security and to delivering high-quality services to our clients by demonstrating we have the necessary internal controls and processes in place. The Co-Pay Partner’s platform is fully encrypted, and SOC 2 approved. We take our customers security seriously and make sure we abide by all compliance standards. To read more about our SOC 2 audit view our press release

  • What other products does Attigo by Ascendium offer?

    Our suite of solutions can be used individually or in tandem to tackle every aspect of student loan distress. We can turn overwhelmed employees into empowered leaders through our one-on-one student loan counseling with Student Loan Success Center, financial wellness education with Knowledge Center, free monthly SmartSessions webinars, or by-request training for your team.
  • Does Attigo by Ascendium offer Student Loan Refinance?

    In the best interest of student loan borrowers, we don’t offer loan refinancing. When refinancing through a private lender, borrowers could lose out on some of the benefits federal loans offer. It takes a fine balance of what can be right for each student loan borrower. As a nonprofit organization, instead of offering refinancing, we offer support. We have experts that can address your employee’s questions with in-depth knowledge into the best solution.
  • How can I get started with Co-Pay Partners?

    Use our Contact Us form and let us know you are interested in offering Student Loan Repayment Assistance. We would be honored to work with you and support your employees with this benefit.

    This information does not constitute legal, financial, or other individualized expert advice and may not be relied on as such.

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