If you’re an educator who had your federal TEACH Grant converted into an interest-bearing loan, you may be eligible for debt relief. The Education Department announced a plan in December to give teachers a second chance to have their loans converted back into grants if they can prove they met the program’s teaching requirements.
“What a relief,” said Morgan Jackson, a special education teacher in the Medina School District, who was slated to begin repaying nearly $17,400 in converted loans in January. After successfully submitting her TEACH Grant paperwork for the past two years, in June the Medina Teachers Association member was told her paperwork submission was one-day late, which automatically converted her grants to loans. Her requests for reconsideration fell on deaf ears.
“Thank you to everyone who spoke up and fought this battle,” she said. “I’m forever grateful.”
Since it began in 2008, the TEACH Grant program has recruited talented educators into hard-to-fill jobs in lower-income school districts. But improperly filed paperwork left many participants deep in debt after their grants were converted into loans. A Department of Education audit found that more than 12,000 educators had their grants switched to loans due errors made by the company hired to manage the program.
TEACH Grants require educators to submit paperwork annually for four years certifying that they teach in a low-income school. However, the paperwork is notoriously confusing and if participants submitted it late, or had missing information, they saw their grants converted into loans.
For details, visit www.studentaid.gov/teach-reconsideration.
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We want to hear from you. Were you caught in the TEACH Grant net and will now go through the reconsideration process? Please share your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.