Perspectives : DC Retirement | June 16, 2022

Vanguard, Candidly offer student loan debt program

As part of our financial wellness experience, Vanguard and Candidly have joined forces to help eligible employees manage student loan debt. The Candidly platform uses machine learning technology rooted in behavioral economics to provide personalized guidance in helping borrowers, parents who borrow on a child's behalf, and loan cosigners pay off student debt while also saving for the future.

According to the Federal Reserve, about 30% of all U.S. adults—not just those who attended college—have incurred debt to finance education.1 Some 44 million Americans owe $1.75 trillion in student loan debt,2 and the average student loan debt reached $38,792 in 2020.3

The student loan debt management services developed by Candidly will be integrated into Vanguard's participant website.

Student loan debt's effects on retirement saving

The need to pay off student loan debt has real implications for retirement saving. "Employees who are paying down student loans often cite having less to invest for retirement," said Vanguard's Amber Brestowski, head of Institutional Investor Advice & Client Experience.

By working with Candidly, we can help eligible employees lower their payments and pay down debt sooner, which can free up money to save for retirement and other financial goals. Amber Brestowski Head of Advice and Client Experience Vanguard Institutional Investor Group

The road to financial freedom

With just a few simple questions, the Candidly platform guides borrowers to the next best action based on their goals and data (and employer data, if applicable). Among its many services, Candidly can help borrowers:

Reassess their debt.

  • The platform helps borrowers find a repayment plan that fits their budget. By helping eligible employees determine whether they qualify for government-sponsored repayment plans, it saves users on average $326 per month.4
  • The Refinance service helps qualified borrowers explore how to lower their interest rate or monthly payments across a multilender marketplace.
  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) module helps borrowers certify, manage, and track their progress toward PSLF, a federal government program that can erase student debt after 10 years.

Repay their loans more quickly.

  • Round up collects spare change from daily purchases and applies those payments to the debt.
  • The Giveback Chrome extension converts cashback earned at online shopping destinations into student debt payments.
  • Autocrush enables borrowers to make one-time and recurring payments to their student debt.
  • The Village enables contributions to the debt of a loved one.

The Candidly platform can contribute so much to plan-eligible employees' financial well-being in the near term. At the same time, it can also help them prepare for a successful retirement. It really is a game changer. Amber Brestowski Head of Advice and Client Experience Vanguard Institutional Investor Group

Improving participant outcomes

Vanguard sometimes combines our own expertise with that of world-class third-party providers to help improve participant outcomes. We follow a rigorous search and vetting process to identify companies like Candidly who can help deliver results and who align with our mission. Some of the most important criteria include:

  • Possessing best-in-class capabilities, services, and expertise.
  • Providing long-term service value to plan sponsors and participants.
  • Maintaining high security and risk-and-control management standards.
  • Sharing a philosophical alignment with Vanguard and our values.

We're focused on helping participants achieve financial well-being. With that as our north star, we can now help eligible employees manage student loan debt in a personalized, straightforward way.


  • Student loan debt services are provided by Candidly. Candidly is not affiliated with The Vanguard Group, Inc., Vanguard Marketing Corporation, or any of their affiliates.
  • The student loan debt services do not provide investment advice or recommendations, but rather student loan debt management guidance and education.