By Lance Reynolds Republican-American
HARTFORD – Teachers in Waterbury, Naugatuck, Winsted and Torrington are eligible for an interest subsidy to refinance existing private student loan debt through the District Alliance Teacher Loan Grant Program. State, which launched on Tuesday, July 12.
The program allows teachers in the region’s four districts, among Connecticut’s 36 lowest performing districts that receive state funding as an Alliance district, to apply for a 3% interest subsidy for help pay off their non-federal student debt.
Teachers can receive a maximum refinance loan of $25,000, with rates ranging from 0.75% to 2.49%, including the 3% grant, and terms of 5, 10 and 15 years, said Jeanette Weldon, executive director of the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA), which implemented the program with the state Department of Education.
At a July 12 press conference in Hartford, officials said the program would help recruit teachers from Alliance districts, those struggling the most with teacher shortages, and diversify the workforce. state educators.
“This will help aspiring educators with loans refinance at a lower rate if they seek employment in an Alliance district, while helping those who are already employed reduce their loan rates,” the commissioner said. at Charlene Russell-Tucker Education.
Loans will last as long as teachers remain in an Alliance district and maintain state educator certification.
The number of teachers who will receive a loan is limited to the $7 million in public funds used for the program, Weldon said.
“We’re starting with the Alliance districts, and we’ll see how it works,” Weldon said of whether and when the program will expand to all 205 Connecticut districts. “Future things may be on the cards, but it’s too early to tell.”
About 497,700 student borrowers live in Connecticut, according to Education Data, a national research firm that collects student loan data. The average student debt is $35,162, according to the numbers.
Governor Ned Lamont has encouraged teachers to apply for the 3% interest subsidy, which he says could equal more than $100 a month in savings. The program stems from a Lamont bill signed into law last year.
CHESLA gave the example of a teacher who has $25,000 in private student debt and an interest rate of 12% with a repayment term of 10 years. After refinancing an Alliance District 10-year refinance loan at 2.25%, including the 3% grant, the teacher reduced monthly payments by $130, saving $15,000 over the life of the loan.
“Too many of our teachers are graduating with a lot of debt,” Lamont said. “This debt weighs on them and discourages people from going into education. It is enormous.