There are few bright spots in the world right now, but the ways in which companies and agencies are addressing student loan debt is one of them. With job losses and an economic downturn, we’re all looking for ways to get help where we can. So, it’s much-appreciated that there are ways to get your student loans covered. It’s not always easy admitting you need financial help, but these programs and practices will benefit you. Here are five ways to get help with your student loans:
The CARES Act
Part of the act, signed in March by President Trump, allows companies to contribute to employees’ student loans. Do your research and find out which companies are taking advantage. For instance, Goodly, a private firm that sets up student loan programs for companies, is working with Ben & Jerry’s franchises. Eligible businesses must have less than 500 employees, so look for small businesses, not large corporations or companies. When in doubt, call up the company you’re interested in and inquire directly. College students can also take advantage of the CARES act by getting grants. If you’re a student, talk to your financial aid office to see if you’re eligible.
If you’re on the hunt for a new job and also have student loan debt, you may be oddly in luck. Some companies offer student loan hiring incentives such as Chegg and Estee Lauder, which partnered with Tuition.io to help pay back student debt. Many of the companies offering to pay employees’ student loans are large companies, like Google and Hulu, so keep your focus on those. Additionally, these are the types of companies that may be in a better position to offer benefits and other long term financial securities during this unstable time.
Don’t expect a hiring manager to know that you’re looking for the company to match your student loan debt unless you tell them. If you’re struggling to pay your student loans, it’s good to be frank and honest with your employer. Of course, it’s not a good idea to apply for a job specifically for student loan reasons, but in interviews, you can mention that part of the allure of the company is how they treat employees. Remember that you’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you.
You may have to ask a company whether or not they’re offering student loan assistance. Not every business is necessarily advertising it. Some might not have even thought about offering assistance, but should. The Education Loan Finance has an email template on its website you can download to send to HR for just this reason. Explain your specific situation and how the CARES Act applies to businesses. This will show both that you’re knowledgeable about the act and that you’re interested in the company.
Until at least the end of the year, the federal government will continue to stop student loan payments and collections. If you have student loans, take advantage of this time to pick up some extra work and apply for other grants or jobs if you need. That way, you’ll be in a good position when payments and collections do start back up. Be proactive. Best yet, apply for the jobs that will pay for your student loan debt.
These programs may not last, so act now. Don’t be afraid to ask potential employers whether they’ll match your loans. The process can seem daunting—navigating bureaucratic websites, filling out paperwork—but it will be worth the trouble to get help financially. This will then set you up for future success.
A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.