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Programs Tame Tuition for Education Graduate Students

The Presidential Teaching Plan would offer scholarships for those studying to teach in-demand subjects.

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Tens of millions of dollars in federal scholarship grants flow to teacher preparation programs each year, regardless of the quality of the program or the commitment of the recipients to ultimately choose teaching. That would change under a Presidential Teaching Fellows plan proposed by the Obama administration.

[Read how the government tests education grad schools.]

The program, to be funded by $135 million a year in federal aid to the states (assuming congressional approval), would provide scholarships of up to $10,000 for final-year students who study an in-demand subject (typically math, science, or special education) at a teacher preparation program that meets new, rigorous standards of excellence, likely determined by surveys of graduates and test scores of their pupils.

Once they graduate, scholarship winners would commit to teach in an underserved school for at least three years, or the grant would convert to a loan.

Many education grads are already eligible for certain loan forgiveness programs. People with Stafford loans can lop $5,000 off the loan amount if they teach in a high-need school for five years, and doing so in a high-need subject can raise that ceiling to $17,500.

[Learn more about paying for graduate school.]

Grads can also have all of their Perkins loans wiped out if they teach in these settings or subjects for five years, or partial amounts can be canceled for fewer years.

Finally, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program allows certain debts to be waived once graduates have made 120 monthly payments and taught in public school full time for a decade.

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