OPM requests data on student loan repayments
The OPM has asked agencies to report on their use of student loan repayments for the 2020 calendar year, an authority that agencies can use to attract and retain employees in high-demand occupations.
Under the program, an agency can pay an employee up to $ 10,000 per year and up to $ 60,000 for life to repay certain types of student loans. The OPM wants information by March 31, including the number of beneficiaries, their occupations and the amounts paid.
The most recently released report, covering 2018, showed that 34 agencies paid incentives to some 10,400 employees for a total of nearly $ 79 million, for an average payout of around $ 7,600. The numbers in each category have increased steadily since cuts due to budget limitations in 2011-2013, but still have not returned to their 2010 levels.
“We also invite you to share any additional information regarding best practices, lessons learned, program effectiveness, or metrics used to measure program success. We would also appreciate your input on how best to establish and justify each business case, as well as how to address and resolve program barriers. Your agency can provide relevant details about your agency’s use of the student loan repayment authority as an effective recruitment or retention tool, ”a memo said.
Agencies that have not used the authority should explain why and if they have a policy in place that would allow its use or plan to have one.
Annual reports consistently show that only a handful of agencies – primarily the DoD, justice, state, SEC, HHS, and VA – account for the vast majority of payments, and that payments are also concentrated in a small number of professional fields, including engineering, contracts, medical, special agents, foreign affairs, legal and accounting.
ask.FEDweek.com: Student loan repayment assistance for federal employees