Ameritas and Nelnet announced today a joint venture to own and expand BenefitEd, a student loan repayment benefit company. BenefitEd, founded by the Nelnet Innovation Hub in 2016, helps employers offer student loan repayment as an employee benefit by directly contributing toward an employee’s student loan balance.

The joint venture leverages Nelnet’s existing relationships with student loan lenders and decades of experience in payment processing, and Ameritas’ expertise in the distribution and management of employee benefits. Nelnet and Ameritas each own a 50 percent interest in BenefitEd.

“We look forward to working together to provide this important and highly sought after employee benefit,” said Karen Gustin, Ameritas group division executive vice president. “The combined experience of both companies creates a knowledgeable, trustworthy and strong partnership. That is an advantage for our customers in recruiting, engaging and retaining employees.”

BenefitEd enables companies to customize a student loan repayment benefit to fit the needs of their unique employee base, and in turn improve the recruitment and retention of talented employees. According to Experian credit bureau, more than 40 million people carry student loan debt after college. BenefitEd offers employers a solution to help ease that financial burden. More than 600 employees already receive loan repayment benefits through BenefitEd.

“The Ameritas name and reputation will bring increased value and visibility to BenefitEd,” said Scott Gubbels, Executive Director of Nelnet’s Innovation Hub. “We look forward to accelerating the success we’ve experienced thus far by making this student loan repayment benefit more widely available through Ameritas’ employer relationships.”

Nelnet’s role in the partnership will focus on the implementation of account management software, in addition to payment processing and loan services. Ameritas will market BenefitEd’s loan repayment product through existing distribution channels and broker and employer relationships.