More employers offer tuition reimbursement

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELOLAND) – While many college graduates are celebrating the end of their studies, they’re dreading paying off student loans.

This spring’s graduating class faces the highest student loan debt ever.

However, more employers are stepping up to help, including Esurance in Sioux Falls.

Gabriel Tornberg is now in a leadership position at Esurance. That’s thanks in part to his college education.

“I started off just as a licensed agent, selling auto insurance. I was able to move up to be a manager and recently a program lead,” Tornberg said.

Tornberg has not gone the typical route in paying for college. He got half of his undergraduate tuition paid for at a previous job. He then came to Esurance because he heard the company offers programs to pay for master’s degrees.

“It would be a challenge on my own,” Tornberg said.

In addition to master’s programs, the company also helps employees pay for some undergraduate and associate’s degrees. It’s a perk more employers across the nation are buying into.

“It’s really kind of a win-win for both,” Esurance Recruiter Stephanie Houck said.

Esurance doesn’t just pay for any degree, though. You have to get the course approved before you start. You then get reimbursed when you finish.

“We are looking for courses that are related to their job so making sure it’s relevant to their job and Esurance,” Houck said.

Employees can get reimbursed up to $5,250 a year. For Tornberg, that’s covered most of his expenses–expenses that will hopefully pay off for Tornberg, his company and his customers.

“I kind of came here just thinking it would be a job. It’s lead into a career,” Tornberg said.

The latest government stats show seven out ten college graduates have loans, and up to 25 percent of borrowers are behind in payments.

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