Delaware Public Media

Delaware lawmakers to consider giving some teachers student loan relief

Mar 20, 2018

A bill that would help teachers pay back their student loans is coming to the General Assembly.

 

The proposed legislation seeks to give the state another tool to recruit and retain teachers in areas with high turnover rates.

 

 

Teachers in First State schools with high concentrations of low-income students, students with disabilities, and English language learners would qualify for up to two thousand dollars a year for five years in student loan forgiveness.

 

State Rep. David Bentz (D-Newark) is cosponsoring the bill with State Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark).

 

Bentz says teachers in all three counties would qualify for the incentive.

 

“We’d see availability for this for teachers willing to go into more urban settings where there is a lot of poverty and students struggling in areas like Wilmington, but then also in more rural Sussex and Kent County areas where there’s also low income and high needs areas as well,” said Bentz.

 

Townsend notes this program is meant to supplement the federal student loan forgiveness program for career public servants.  

 

“This is meant to fill that space or fill that gap in those years before teachers are eligible for broader loan forgiveness,” said Townsend.

 

STEM-related fields, special education, and world languages may also qualify for student loan repayments.

 

 

Bentz says the bill, which has Gov. John Carney’s support, calls for $200,000 in state funding, but adds that may change depending on budget negotiations.

 

The ACLU is suing the state over the way it allocates funding to low income schools.