US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for Michigan Debbie Stabenow 2
Provides Incentives for New Teachers to Stay in the Profession by Helping Pay Off Their Student Loans
Monday, February 05, 2024
WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow introduced a new bill today to help teachers pay off their student loans faster. The Teacher Debt Relief Act would allow teachers to simultaneously enroll in both the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Currently, federal law prohibits simultaneous enrollment.
Michigan schools have experienced severe teacher shortages that impact the ability of students to learn and the wellbeing of teachers. Nearly half of teachers are leaving the profession within their first five years of teaching. By helping teachers pay off their student loans faster, the Teacher Debt Relief Act would help attract new teachers to the classroom and keep them in the profession.
“We want the best of the best for our children in our classrooms. This legislation sends a strong message that we value the hard work of our teachers and understand the challenges they face in the classroom and in their school districts every day. This bill will keep talented teachers in the classroom, and provide greater stability for our local school districts,” said Senator Stabenow.
“Under current law, for a teacher to successfully receive both Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, they would need to work a minimum of 15 years to qualify for full relief. At a time where our nation is experiencing widespread and severe educator shortages, we cannot have burdensome laws that perpetuate the difficulty to pursue a career in education. NEA is proud to support the Teacher Debt Relief Act. We applaud Sen. Stabenow and Rep. Hayes for championing this bill that will allow teachers to get on-time student debt relief that they well deserve,” said Marc Egan, Director of Government Relations, National Education Association.
“We’re thankful for the introduction of this new act and all efforts to reduce financial barriers to entering and staying in the education profession,” said Michigan Education Association President Chandra Madafferi, a teacher from Oakland County. “Educators across Michigan and the country continue to benefit from current federal loan forgiveness programs, but reducing the amount of time until they see debt relief in their wallets will help us keep more great educators working every day with students.”
Currently, educators are eligible for partial debt relief after five years of service. However, federal law forbids simultaneous enrollment in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs, forcing teachers to work an additional ten years to qualify for full relief. The Teacher Debt Relief Act provides incentives for new teachers to stay in the profession by allowing them to qualify for both programs concurrently. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program forgives up to $17,500 for educators who teach special education and secondary math or science in a low-income school after five years of service. If they teach in a different subject area, they are eligible for up to $5,000 of loan forgiveness after five years of service. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program forgives teachers’ federally held loans after they have made 120 monthly payments.