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High-Risk, High-Reward Strategy For Recruiting New Graduates

Pros, cons of offering a student loan repayment benefit program

Ori Murdock, one of G&A Partners’ Senior Client Relationship Managers, talks about the advantages of student loan repayment benefit programs like the one Memorial Hermann Health Systems, the largest health system in the Houston area, announced it would be launching this summer.

Many of the new generation of workers are coming out of college with massive amounts of debt, and one Houston employer plans to use that as a recruiting tool.

Memorial Hermann Health System will launch a student loan repayment program this summer to quell high levels of debt for current and future employees. Benefit programs like this are increasingly common as talent markets become more competitive, said Ori Murdock, human resources advisor for G&A Partners in Houston.

“The idea is to get the student before they graduate. So they know by the time they graduate, they’re going to have a job that will help them afford their student loans,” Murdock said.

Ann Hollingsworth, system executive for human resources, benefits and compensation for Memorial Hermann Health Systems, said that the ability to keep and retain employees will actually help Memorial Hermann pay for this program.

“[Programs like these] can be expensive depending on where a person goes to school, what they take and what they work on,” Murdock said.

Employers typically look to allocate funds from a recruiting budget to help pay for programs like this, she added. And a program of this magnitude isn’t always feasible for small mom and pop shops.

For smaller companies, an alternative might be a tuition reimbursement program. A tuition reimbursement program helps employees receive further education with help from their employer. For example, a company might offer to help pay for an MBA for a mid-level executive, with the understanding that the executive is willing to stay at the company for a longer period of time, Murdock said.

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Other alternatives include work-study programs or internships.

“They help train the college student so they know that when they’re done, they’re going to get hired,” Murdock said. “And it benefits the company because they get the knowledge and skill of the employee.”

This article, written by Joe Martin, originally appeared in the Houston Business Journal. To read the full article and learn more about Memorial Hermann’s new loan repayment program, click here.

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