California Educator

September 2015

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New to teaching, or preparing to enter the field? If you're like many, you've taken out student loans to finance your education. You should know that student loan for- giveness programs are available to help you reduce or even erase this debt. But pay attention, because eligibility and application for the programs are complicated. "Student loan debt is at the top of everyone's mind right now because of the increasing costs of higher edu- cation and the financial needs that everyone has," says Sean Mabey, NEA Member Benefits affiliate relations specialist for California, Colorado and Nevada. Mabey presents informational workshops for CTA members on loan forgiveness programs and reducing debt. Eligibility depends on your loan type, current teaching assignment and length of time teaching, Mabey says. He stresses that all student loans are highly personal and you should contact your lender regarding your eligibility. There are two types of forgiveness programs, accord- ing to Mabey. One is the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and involves federal Stafford loans and Perkins loans. The other is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The programs for Stafford and Perkins loans have dif- ferent eligibility requirements and different levels of debt reduction and erasure. Requirements may include: • You're a new borrower. • You have been employed for at least five consecutive years in an elementary or secondary school desig- nated annually as a low-income school. By Katharine Fong LOWER THAT LOAN Student loan forgiveness programs reduce and even erase teacher debt Contact your congressional representatives and urge them to make college more afford- able. Specific steps to be taken include: • Expand loan forgiveness programs to cover contingent faculty and encourage careers in education. • Allow federal student loans to be refinanced when interest rates decline. • Streamline federal loan repay- ment plans to create a single income-based option with affordable monthly payments. • Restore federally subsidized loans for graduate students. See and look for the Legislative Action Center. TAKE ACTION! 54 CTA & You

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