Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee unanimously passed a new discretionary loan-forgiveness program that would provide up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness for qualified teachers who teach five years in a Title I school. The bill would increase the loan forgiveness level found in current law ($5,000) by $12,500.
Sponsored by Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the bill originally included only special education teachers as a priority for loan forgiveness. The committee added other amendments that expanded eligibility to other teachers. Rep. George Miller’s (D-CA) amendment targets teachers in high needs schools in districts which are identified by the states as having the most difficulty meeting the highly qualified teacher requirement in No Child Left Behind. An amendment by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) extends eligibility to math and science teachers.
The next stop for this bill will be the House floor. While no comparable bill has yet been acted upon in the Senate, the issue is likely to be dealt with in the next Congress.