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More feds received student loan repayments in 2015

Federal employees received nearly $70 million in student loan repayments in 2015, according to a new report to Congress from the Office of Personnel Management.

Federal employees received nearly $70 million in student loan repayments in 2015, according to a new report to Congress from the Office of Personnel Management.

Thirty-two federal agencies provided 9,610 employees with a total of more than $69.5 million in student loan repayment benefits in calendar year 2015, according to the report. OPM said that this represents a 13 percent increase over 2014 in the number of employees receiving those benefits, as well as an 18.4 percent increase in agencies’ investments in the incentive.

The repayment program played a key role in recruiting and retaining employees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) positions in 2015—the Defense Department alone provided loan repayments to about 766 engineers in 2015, compared to 550 engineers in 2014, an increase of 39 percent.

“In CY 2015, the five agencies making the most extensive use of student loan repayments were once again the Departments of Defense, Justice, State, Veterans Affairs, and the Securities and Exchange Commission,” the report stated. “82 percent of the total cost of all student loan repayment benefits was provided by these five agencies. Similarly, 76 percent of all student loan repayment recipients were employed by these five agencies.”

Overall,” the report said, “these five agencies provided 7,314 employees with more than $57 million in student loan repayment benefits. The other 27 agencies combined provided 2,296 employees with just over $ 12.5 million in student loan repayment benefits.”

OPM acting Director Beth Cobert said the agency will continue to work with agencies to help them use student loan repayments and other human resources management flexibilities to attract and retain top talent. 

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