Goodly releases 'Talkspace’ for student loan counseling

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When Greg Poulin, CEO of the student loan benefit company Goodly, was attending Dartmouth College his parents helped to finance his education. But when his father suddenly passed away after suffering a heart attack he ended up needing to take out $80,000 in student loans in order to continue his studies.

After graduating and moving to San Francisco for work, Poulin felt overwhelmed as he tried to navigate repaying his debt. It was this struggle that would inspire him to found Goodly in 2018.

“It’s really overwhelming trying to navigate all the different repayment options you have as a borrower,” Poulin says.

Now, the San Francisco-based startup that helps companies offer student loan repayment as an employee benefit is teaming up with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to offer Loan Line, a new concierge service that connects employees with certified financial advisers. The service will launch this week and be accessible to the more than 100,000 employees using the Goodly platform across the U.S.

“This product is what Talkspace does for therapy, except to help employees tackle issues related to their student loan debt,” Poulin says.

See Also: Best strategies for implementing a student debt benefits program

Using the Goodly system employees will be able to access Loan Line via their desktop or mobile app and chat directly with advisers to schedule a one on one assessment of their student loans and repayment options. Financial advisers provide counseling to employees suffering with student loans and help them figure out their best option for paying down their debt faster, Poulin says. Employees utilizing this program will be able to get help with refinancing, federal loan forgiveness and receive assistance filling out related forms.

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“By transforming NFCC's services into an employee benefit, Goodly is providing increased access to critical financial counseling services for employees struggling with student loans,” Poulin says.

The Goodly platform allows employers to make monthly payments, integrated with their payroll, directly to employees’ student debt. Goodly lets employers make regular contributions towards paying down employees’ student loans. Employees can use the platform to automate their regular payments and access counseling services.

Student loan repayment programs are some of the most in demand employee benefits today. Indeed, it is “the number one new benefit that companies are planning to start providing,” according to a study by ADP. Company provided student loan repayment benefits have risen to 8% in 2019 from just 4% in 2018, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management. Some of the employers offering the benefit include Abbott Laboratories, Hulu, HP Inc. and Aetna.

“There’s not really anywhere you can turn for guidance and have somebody who can walk you through that process,” Poulin says. “Loan Line is really a service that I wish I had when I was an employee.”

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