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Proposed Federal Law to Reform Teacher Loan Forgiveness Programs

Proposed Federal Law to Reform Teacher Loan Forgiveness Programs; Provide Incentives to Teachers in Low Income Schools

A federal bill proposed by bipartisan lawmakers last week would not only replace a patchwork of failed teacher loan forgiveness and repayment programs, but would also provide incentives for teachers to take jobs in challenging districts and stay there.

"The bill, called the Teacher Loan Repayment Act, would provide $250-$400 a month to help play the loans of teachers," said The Seattle Times.

And for teachers working in Title I schools, where 40% of the students enrolled are from low-income families, they would be eligible for complete loan forgiveness after 10 years.

The bill is an attempt to streamline what lawmakers call a "crop" of confusing federal repayment options that aren't easily accessible to teachers in its current state.

The lawmakers said the biggest reason for their action was inspired by the fact that "[f]ew teachers take advantage of the current crop of federally-sponsored teacher loan assistance programs because eligibility requirements are confusing and the loans require lengthy commitments," according to the article.

Indeed, a report sponsored by the U.S. Government Accountability Office  that was released in March of this year took a look at federal grant and loan forgiveness programs for teachers and found that the programs needed to improve "participant outcomes."

The report found the need for more data on why a significant portion of teachers do not participate in forgiveness programs despite being eligible.

"Education has a stated goal to take a data-driven approach to better understand its customers, but does not collect information on why recipients do not meet requirements. Absent this data, Education is hindered in taking steps to reduce grant-to-loan conversions and improve participant outcomes," the report said.

The proposed Teacher Loan Repayment Act would seek to remedy the problems found in this report by completing overhauling programs like TEACH grants and replacing them with this one piece of consolidated legislation that would make all teachers eligible.

What do you think? Read the full article here, take our survey and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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