Many teachers are seeing some relief as an update to policy at the Department of Education could see student loans and debt obligation wiped from teachers credit reports in this rare event. IN 2008, THE TEACH FEDERAL GRANT PROGRAM created an incentive program in order to encourage students to pursue areas of teaching the Department of Education desired, specifically math and science.
As part of the deal, a teacher who agreed to teach a designated subject for 4 years at a designated school would be eligible for the grant money. If a teacher did not meet the criteria of the program the grant money would be converted into Direct Unsubsidized Loans and would be required to be paid back to the Department of Education. THE CHALLENGE with the program was that in order to comply with the program the teachers had to meet criteria that was much more difficult to accomplish, some of the practices that were called into question were: 1) Teachers had to submit a yearly report showing that they have met the guidelines. If the report was a day late, lost in the mail, or incomplete - it would be invalid. 2) The reports were often sent to old addresses and the teachers never received them, making them unable to respond in time. 3) All reports require a principals signature, and many of the reports are due during summer when many schools are not in session and the principal unavailable. Any of the above reasons would start the Grant conversion process. Once a teacher was in non-compliance the Grant would be revoked and a student loan would take it's place. Previously, this was a permanent change.
A year long NPR investigation was at the forefront of the policy change, and was cited as a source by 19 US Senators who wrote to the Department of Education asking for the policy to be updated to be more fair towards teachers. The Department of Education is now making arrangements to give teachers that have complied with the TEACH Grant Program otherwise to have their eligibility reinstated. The policy to get back into the grant program is expected to be released January 31st, 2019. For more details visit the TEACH program website found here.