Hanna introduces bipartisan bill to incentivize new teachers through student loan forgiveness

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) would use loan forgiveness options to improve teacher recruitment and retention.

Hanna and U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) introduced the Teacher Debt Relief Act, H.R. 4933, to address a 30 percent drop in teacher preparation programs between 2010 and 2014.

“Under current law, teacher loan forgiveness programs are not well-aligned and as a result create duplicitous and conflicting standards that make it challenging for teachers to receive repayment assistance,” Hanna said. “The commonsense fix this bill makes to existing debt relief programs will ensure that they work better for young, talented teachers eager to enter the workforce and serve in high-need communities throughout our country, like in Utica and Binghamton, New York.” 

Two federal loan forgiveness programs are currently available to teachers. The Stafford Student Loan Forgiveness (SSLF) program allows teachers to qualify for debt relief after spending five years in the classroom, while the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program begins discharging remaining debt after 10 years of public service, including education.

Teachers are not allowed to qualify for both programs, and in order to have their loans fully discharged through PSLF they must spend a total of 15 years on the job.

“As a former public school teacher of 24 years, I witnessed and experienced the financial struggles that discourage talented people from entering and staying in one of our most noble professions,” Takano said. “Education is the bedrock of our society and the foundation for our future. We should be doing everything we can to get more smart and passionate people into the classroom where they can teach and inspire the next generation.” 

More Articles About Richard Hanna
More Articles About Education