Millennials would choose this job perk even over health insurance

Ron Batzdorff | NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Forget free food, forget foosball, forget an office gym. Millennials agree that there's really just one thing companies could offer to both satisfy and retain their young employees and also attract new talent: Help paying back their student loans.

Young workers are so eager for it that some would even prefer it to health insurance.

A recent survey of millennials, both in the workforce and in school, found that 85 percent would accept one job offer over another if it included help paying back their student loans. 36 percent would stay more than a year longer for it.

And it's no wonder. More than 44 million Americans have taken out student loans. The debt totals $1.4 trillion.

The average cost for one year at a public university is at $20,000 for in-state students, and for out-of-state students it's $34,000.

The survey notes "the average respondent prefers student loan repayment nearly [two times] more than 401(k) contribution, [seven times] more than food, [11 times] more than gym membership and [12 times] more than enhancement to the workplace environment."

27 percent of respondents would prefer loan repayment 18 times more than 401(k) contributions and 23 times more than health insurance contributions. It noted these individuals were more likely to be female and minorities.

In most cases, students seeking loan assistance must complete a predetermined amount of coursework, maintain a minimum grade-point average and have been employed at their respective employer for a qualifying amount of time to be eligible.

Once requirements are met, some companies, like Starbucks, cover the full cost of college tuition for employees. These other companies will help you pay for school, too.

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