Student Loan Reimbursements Drop

Use of the student loan reimbursement authority, a recruiting and retention tool, fell sharply in 2013 due to restrictions on available funds in agency budgets, OPM has reported. During the calendar year, agencies provided 7,314 employees with $52.9 million in the benefits, with the number receiving them down 31 percent from 10,543 in 2012 and the amount down 25 percent from $70.3 million. As in the past, use was concentrated in a handful of agencies; Defense, Justice, State, and the Securities and Exchange Commission accounted for 73 percent of the value and 70 percent of the recipients. Usage also was concentrated by occupation: at DoD, in engineering, contracting and nursing; at Justice, in special agents, attorneys and intelligence analysts; at State, in foreign affairs and program and management analysis; and at SEC in attorney, accountant and compliance examiners. Under the program, an agency can pay an employee up to $10,000 a year and up to $60,000 lifetime to be used toward student loan debt.