TIAA, a leading financial services provider, today announced that it is working with social impact technology startup Savi to make it easier for nonprofit institutions to offer a meaningful student debt relief solution to their employees. The companies together launched a student debt solution designed to help employees of nonprofit organizations reduce their monthly student loan payments immediately, and to qualify over time for relief from the balance of their federal student loans by enrolling in the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
TIAA and Savi conducted a pilot of the solution from July 2019 through March 2020 with seven nonprofit institutions, four in higher education and three in healthcare. Within that period, employees who signed up for the solution were on track to save an average of $1,700 a year in student debt payments. Some employees’ payments were cut in half. In addition, employees had an average projected forgiveness of more than $50,000 upon successful completion of 120 months in the PSLF program. The total projected forgiveness from the pilot exceeds $53,000,000 to date.
Much more than simply a tool or calculator, the solution launched today by TIAA and Savi helps participants successfully navigate the complex rules of the PSLF program. The PSLF program was designed over a decade ago to help the people who dedicate their careers to serving others. Historically, the program has presented challenges for some borrowers due to difficulty understanding the rules and managing the paperwork. In fact, 98 percent of PSLF program applicants have been rejected for not meeting program requirements or due to missing or incomplete information on a form. i Without a solution like Savi, over half of borrowers miss annual deadlines that are key to receiving loan forgiveness.
“Managing debt is a key step toward achieving financial wellness and it is why we are offering this solution,” said Doug Chittenden, Executive Vice President and President of Institutional Relationships at TIAA. “There has never been a more important time to help keep our nonprofit participants on track toward student debt forgiveness. Health care workers on the front lines of this crisis and university faculty and staff focused on administering distance learning programs are under tremendous pressure already. Together with Savi, we’re proud to help enable our participants and other nonprofit employees to take advantage of the significant benefits of the federal PSLF program.”
Assistant Vice Chancellor of HR at the University of Pittsburgh John Kozar said, “The University of Pittsburgh continually seeks benefits and services that can deliver high value at little or no cost. One of the best examples of this is this solution from TIAA and Savi. The University was an early adopter of this program in March 2020, and in a very short period of time, participants have a calculated average loan forgiveness exceeding $55,000. There is also an immediate savings with the reduction in loan repayments that are averaging $100 per month. Amongst our participants, the total debt that may be forgiven exceeds $14 million. Needless to say, we are pleased to make this solution available to all of our employees, and our faculty and staff are delighted with the results. We are grateful for TIAA and Savi’s efforts to recognize and address this important need.”
Employees of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, another pilot program participant, have experienced similar success. “This solution from TIAA and Savi is an excellent addition to our suite of employee benefits,” said Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health People Operations Director Gayle Collins. “It is user-friendly, the data is impressive, and it has exceeded our expectations in every way. Most importantly, our employees are telling us it is easy to navigate, it is helping them reduce their monthly loan payments, and it helps ensure they are getting approved for loan forgiveness.”
Savi Co-Founder Aaron Smith said, “Even the most diligent student loan borrowers face challenges navigating the confusing maze of federal student loan repayment and forgiveness options. After seeing the incredible impact during our pilot with TIAA, we are excited to expand to the broader TIAA community of client institutions and their employees.”
How it works
TIAA is offering Savi’s solution to client institutions as a turnkey service to help them significantly expand the financial wellness benefits available to their employees.
Individuals can sign up by answering a few simple questions. From there, the Savi software determines potential savings with an income-driven repayment plan and whether the person may qualify for a forgiveness program. The Savi algorithm takes into account an individual’s specific circumstances, including their family and tax situation, and suggests a solution that best fits their needs. The solution acts like a concierge, helping the individual to stay in compliance with the recurring paperwork requirements of the PSLF program and reducing errors. Savi’s customer success team is standing by to answer questions and act as an advocate if needed.
Employees of nonprofit institutions and their family members are also able to get an initial analysis from the tool at no cost.
This solution offers a client-friendly deployment model that requires no IT involvement by the institution and enables the client to control the communication channels and frequency. A communications toolkit is provided to enable institutions to communicate information in the way that works best for them and their employees.
“I was already working toward forgiveness, but found new savings,” said one TIAA participant and Savi user. “My monthly payment went from $360 to $150 – a reduction by more than half!”
Mr. Chittenden of TIAA said, “TIAA recognizes that new financial realities have emerged for participants as a result of the current economic situation brought about by COVID-19. We strive to help everyone work toward a stable financial future with dignity, purpose, and hope. Managing student loan debt is a key action to help secure long-term financial well-being.”
With an award-winning 1 track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA (TIAA.org) is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has $1.1 trillion in assets under management 2 (as of 3/31/2020) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.
Savi is a social impact technology startup in Washington, D.C. working to solve the student debt crisis affecting 46 million borrowers by helping them discover new repayment and loan forgiveness options. Founded by long-time student loan experts and advocates, Savi is a public benefit corporation that has identified more than $200 million in projected forgiveness for student loan borrowers. Savi works with employers, membership organizations, and financial institutions to provide our service as a unique student loan benefit.
Savi and TIAA are independent entities. A portion of any fee charged by Savi may be shared with TIAA to offset costs to support the program. TIAA makes no representations regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information provided by Savi. TIAA and Savi do not provide tax or legal advice. Please contact your personal tax or legal adviser.
1 The Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards are based on the Lipper Leader for Consistent Return rating, which is a risk-adjusted performance measure calculated over 36, 60 and 120 months. Lipper Leaders fund ratings do not constitute and are not intended to constitute investment advice or an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security of any entity in any jurisdiction. For more information, see lipperfundawards.com. Lipper Fund Awards from Refinitiv, ©2020 Refinitiv. All rights reserved. Used under license. The Award is based on a review of risk-adjusted performance of 39 companies for 2016, 36 for 2017, 35 for 2018 & 2019, and 30 for 2020. The award pertains only to the TIAA-CREF mutual funds in the mixed-asset category. Without such waivers ratings could be lower. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For current performance, rankings and prospectuses, please visit TIAA.org.
2 Based on $1.1 trillion of assets under management across Nuveen affiliates and TIAA investment management teams as of 3/31/20.
© 2020 Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund, New York, NY 10017
i Source: Federal Student Aid, https://ifap.ed.gov/electronic-announcements/021920fsapostsnewreportstofsadatacenter