There are many student loans available for future teachers. If you are studying to become a teacher, it is imperative that you understand your student loan options.
There are two times when you need to make critical decisions about your student loans. The first is when you are applying for a student loan for future teachers. The second is when you begin your teaching career and start repaying your student loans.
When you apply for a student loan, be aware that there are specific types of loans available for prospective teachers. Prior to applying for any loans, contact the financial aid office of your institution and ask to speak with a financial aid counselor. Because the student loan market is complex and institution-specific, your financial aid office is the best place to learn about your options. For example, many universities have grants available to state residents who agree to teach in certain neighborhoods upon graduation. By learning about your financial aid options prior to obtaining a loan, you may be able to reduce or eliminate your need for borrowing.
Your financial aid office should be able to identify student loan programs specific to your current state of residency. Remember that you should also ask about student loan programs for the state to which you intend to move after graduation. Many states offer special financial aid programs to new teachers in their communities. You should consider the implications of any state-specific loan you obtain. Because most of these loans have restrictions about your place of employment, you may find yourself unable to move to a different state or teach at a different school because of a loan agreement you signed as an undergraduate.
If you are close to graduation, learn about the programs which eliminate part or all of your student loan debt in exchange for teaching in under-privileged schools. In order to attract new teachers to particular schools, many states and school districts offer student loan repayment packages as part of their hiring agreement. For example, you may receive complete elimination of your student loan debt in exchange for teaching in a poor neighborhood for five years. Even if you are restricted to a single state, you may get a partial forbearance in exchange for teaching at a new or struggling school in your community.
Before you agree to a teaching contract, understand that the repayment of your student loan is generally contingent upon your fulfillment of your commitment. If you are unable or unwilling to teach in the specified location for the duration of your contract, you may be forced to repay the entire amount of forbearance with interest and penalties. In many cases, your student loan repayment contract may make it financially impossible for you to move or switch school districts until your contract has expired.
When examining student loans for teachers, it is essential to start your research as early in your academic career as possible. Begin your research on student loan options as soon as you decide to get your teaching license. There are many programs available to assist teachers with their student loans and you will receive many financial benefits by beginning your exploration early.