August 8, 2019

Senator Haskell Commends the Hartford’s Announcement of Employee Student Loan Repayment Plan

Senate Democrats Photo

State Senator Will Haskell speaks on the Senate floor during the 2019 legislative session.

Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) commended insurance company The Hartford’s announcement of a new student loan repayment program that is designed to help employees pay down their student loan debt. Beginning in 2020, nearly 17,000 employees at The Hartford will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in contributions toward their student debt, according to a press release issued by the company Thursday. This program follows the model of Senate Bill 72, building upon the work of the public and private sector working collaboratively to address student loan debt.

“It’s fantastic news that The Hartford is going to provide this support to its employees, and this is exactly the kind of benefit we envisioned when we developed Senate Bill No. 72 during this year’s legislative session,” said Sen. Haskell. “Their own Chief Human Resources Officer, Marty Gervasi, said in a statement that The Hartford wants to provide employees with financial flexibility. We all know that student loan debt can drag down individuals and households for years or even decades, and that’s why we are looking for creative solutions to help struggling workers. Programs like this help people buy homes and start families a little sooner than they otherwise could. I am confident The Hartford won’t be the last company to put a plan like this into place.”

In late May, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill No. 72, which provides tax credits to employers making education loan payments for their employees. Starting in 2022, employers making loan payments to state loan authorities can claim tax credits equal to half of financial contributions they make. Full-time workers living in Connecticut for at least five years and who refinanced debt through the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority would be eligible.

This law, and The Hartford’s program, come as Connecticut student loan debt more than doubled from 2008 to 2017 from $8 billion to $17 billion. Citing an Experian study, The Hartford added that student loan debt in the United States reached an all-time high of $1.4 trillion in the first quarter of 2019, with the average borrower owing $35,359. The Hartford is the latest company to announce such a program, as Travelers Insurance and Stanley Black & Decker also announced plans this year to offer similar benefits in the future.