Debt Relief and Grad School: The Case of the Teachers

Although the broader discussion of debt relief focuses on most graduates, graduates or those with a professional degree have a much less sympathetic attitude towards debt relief. Extensive federal efforts to free graduates and professional degree holders from student debt উদাহরণ for example, doctors and lawyers কেউ are seen by some as a waste of taxpayer dollars to help the well-to-do.

Although 37 percent of undergraduate students who have student loans go on to pursue a professional degree or PhD or enter high-paying fields, some of these students enter public service jobs, many of whom either require a bachelor’s degree or with one. Pay high salaries for. Government jobs, like teaching, do not offer the same economic benefits as other fields that require higher education.

After 21 years working as an English teacher, Haase had accumulated student loans from his undergraduate and graduate education. Her family was able to make new investments, and Haase began working with her local teachers’ union to help more than 140 members apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which pays off her debts. So far, the Half Hollow Hills Teachers Association, representing the Half Hollow Hills School District of Long Island, NY, has successfully worked to get the ধারণ 200,000 loan held by district educators.

New York State is one of the states where teachers are required to have a master’s degree. These degrees provide a higher level of credit to academics, who are paid much less than others.

“I was glad,” he said with a smile. “I didn’t have a problem paying the bill, but there are people on that boat.” He went on to say, “You must have a master’s degree to teach in New York State. Our members are not going to be rich. It’s a good life, but they’re never going to get rich. “

By 2020, about 6.5 percent of all undergraduate students were earning a degree in education. These students graduate with a high level of debt and are paid less to repay such loans. Especially for young teachers, in the face of increasing tuition and stagnant wages in the field, the debt burden is even greater.

Younger teachers are more likely to take out student loans to finance their education than their older peers. According to a survey by the National Education Association, more than half of students under the age of 35 have borrowed at least $ 65,000 and are entering the field with salaries as low as $ 40,000.

According to a 2021 survey, 42 percent of educators, including students planning to enter the higher education faculty, borrowed at least $ 65,000. Faced with lower wages in their early careers, it takes teachers much longer to pay off their student loans, allowing it to grow with interest. The same study found that 42 percent of educators with more than 11 years of experience still have a student loan balance, while 29 percent have at least $ 65,000 left.

Although public service personnel have been eligible for debt relief through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program since 2007, the success of the program has been long lasting due to administrative problems, resulting in a 98 percent denial rate. The Biden administration has implemented new changes to the PSLF program through a waiver that has so far released $ 6.8 billion in student loans. These changes are due to end in October

Teachers are one of the group of public sector workers eligible for loan waiver under PSLF. However, it is not clear how many teachers have received relief through the program, as the Department of Education has not applied for PSLF or collected information on the occupants’ occupations.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. The Department of Education declined to comment on any updates on the administration’s inclusion of graduate students in the debt relief proposal.

“When we talk about student loan conversations, especially when it comes to undergraduate school, I think people automatically assume it’s a luxury degree. That you are a doctor and a lawyer and you are choosing it and so you are going to get a job where you are going to make a lot of money, “said Kristen Eichhorn, dean of undergraduate studies at New York State University. At Oswego, “It’s not a luxury degree. You don’t have a job unless you have a degree.”

The state of teaching in the United States

The United States is currently facing a shortage of teachers due to a mix of stagnant wages and epidemic-related stress and burnouts. Many districts are facing higher levels of retirement and the number of students pursuing careers in education is declining. Although the deficit was exacerbated by the epidemic, it existed long before that. According to the 2022 report, enrollment in education-related programs declined by one-third between the 2008-09 and 2018-19 academic years.

The level of education, training and certification required to become a teacher varies from state to state. In New York, Ohio, and Massachusetts, for example, all K-12 teachers must earn a master’s degree within the first five years of signing a teaching contract. However, most teaching positions will offer large salaries for undergraduates.

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers nationwide is only $ 54,000, with 47 percent of school districts paying a starting salary below $ 40,000. For teachers with postgraduate degrees, the nationwide average starting salary has jumped to $ 62,000.

The ability to make long-term financial decisions when investing in higher education is difficult for teachers because of changes in current federal and state aid programs and stagnant wages in education.

Hashe noted that teachers often enter the workplace with lower pay under the assumption that their pay will increase when they have more time in the field. However, he said that this low wage, with the increasing politicization of education and the rising level of violence on the school grounds, has pushed many away from the field.

“Right now you’re coming to work with violence and cultural divisions,” Haas said. “I think a lot of young professionals are going to see how other millennial professionals work and they’re going to look differently.”

Loans held by teachers as an obstacle to achieving ethnic diversity in the classroom have also been mentioned. The disproportionately large debt burden borne by black students বিশেষ especially because black students are more likely to take out federal student loans to finance their undergraduate studies and they incur higher debt burdens for undergraduate education-acts as a barrier to many on the field. Entering.

Current programs for undergraduate students to manage loans

While debt relief is welcomed by many as a solution to dealing with undergraduate student debt, many say it will not solve long-term problems with the ability to graduate, especially for low-income jobs such as teaching.

“I think you have to restructure higher education and make it more affordable for those who want it,” Haas said. “We need to start thinking long-term, and stop trying to put band-aids on the problems we already have.”

To address the potential debt of those entering the education sector and to more broadly graduate education, advocates cite the need to invest more federal resources to expand the Pail Grant program. Amy Scott, associate vice president of public relations at the Council of Graduate Schools, mentioned a bill that would allow graduate students to qualify for a grant in their undergraduate years and use the remaining pay for their undergraduate education, as a helpful solution.

Long-term improvements to debt relief programs such as PSLF and income-driven debt repayment will also be helpful, but they need to be done in a sustainable way to make it easier for borrowers to plan how they will finance their education years in advance. They are graduates.

Hussey was able to get his remaining student loan of $ 19,300 through the PSLF program. He originally applied for the program in 2018 but was rejected. Once the Biden administration announced the PSLF waiver, which reduced some of the administrative requirements required to qualify for the program, Haas tried again.

“It simply came to our notice then. I was already rejected – I didn’t hear anything good about the program, “he said with a smile.” I was, ‘I’m going to give it another shot.’ “

“We see a shortage of these great teachers, and PSLF is the black box that everyone is asking about that only works in these extremely rare situations,” he continued laughing. He said that with the 31st October deadline for PSLF concessions approaching, “we are missing out on the opportunity to help them.”

Eichhorn added that more needs to be done at an institutional level to create programs that support adult and continuing students, given the changing population of people receiving higher education. Part of that, he said, is creating clear educational objectives that “people can enter and see the benefits of what needs to be done behind the scenes.”

One solution that has been proposed is to add a graduate student borrowing cap based on the debt-to-income ratio. Students with a bachelor’s degree will not be able to take higher student loans in case of low income. Currently, a federal direct non-subsidized loan amounts to স্কুল 20,500 a year for graduate school students. Another program, the Graduate Plus Loan, allows students to borrow up to other financial aid by deducting the cost of attendance.

Julia Kent, vice president of best practice and strategic initiative at the Graduate School Council, said such an approach “could put already low-income students at risk of pushing them into more expensive financing options, such as higher personal loan interest rates.”

Kent added that loan caps do not take into account the wide range of undergraduate programs and the results of the work associated with each program.

“Federal loan caps are a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t consider specific students, [the] The type of program they are following and the potential career path they will follow, ”Kent said.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, a former teacher and advocate for canceling student loans of up to $ 50,000 per borrower, said it was important to include graduate students in any plan to deal with student debt.

“President Biden should completely eliminate a large portion of student loans for teachers and school counselors, including many who are paid less while providing an essential public service,” Warren said. IHigher Ed. “Many hard-working teachers, especially women of color, earned bachelor’s degrees in education to raise their salaries and work progress, but are now being crushed by federal student loans.”

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