LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Student loan debt has soared to the highest it's ever been.
44 million borrowers owe $1.5 trillion collectively.
Tim Yontz, the senior relationship manager at Fidelity Investments, is one of that 44 million. While Yontz helps others plan for their future, he's still tackling student loan debt after graduating from Xavier University in 2010.
Graduating with about $23,000 in student loan debt, Yontz says he's about 90% paid off. He hopes to have the rest paid off by next year, thanks in part to Fidelity Investment's Step Ahead Loan Program.
"It's a great relief off your shoulders to know that you have that going down and you can focus on other things financially, especially early on in your career," said Yontz.
Yontz is now able to put that money towards other life milestones like his wedding.
"It's going to be coming up here soon when we're thinking about having kids, buying a house, that's always on people's minds soon after they get out of college," Yontz added.
Employees who have been with Fidelity Investments for at least six months are eligible for $2,000 a year, up to $10,000 maximum.
More than 9,300 employees have saved more than $32 million.
The program was created as more employees were being hired with the burden of debt.
"As a financial services firm, that was kind of alarming to us so we took that information and thought how can Fidelity help these associates be in a better position so they can move forward with their life?" said Tricia Beard, Vice President and Branch Manager at Fidelity Investments.
Since the program's start in 2016, 50% of millennials that have been hired at Fidelity came on board because of their student loan program.
"It's just another tool we have to let our associates and potential associates know that hey this is our investment in you and we care about you and try to drive some of that top talent to the firm," said Beard.
Nevada has the third lowest average student loan debt at just more than $22,000. The highest student loan debt average in the country is Connecticut at $38,510.