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For Immediate Release: Jan. 6, 2009
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Loan relief available for teachers

Some South Dakota teachers who are paying off student loans may get a break from the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Education recently identified 13 “teacher shortage areas” for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years. (See list below.) This federal designation may enable teachers within specific content areas to qualify for deferment or cancellation of some federally funded student loans.

“South Dakota, like the rest of the nation, struggles with teacher recruitment and retention,” South Dakota Secretary of Education Tom Oster said. “This program recognizes the valuable role teachers play in our society and offers a reward for their service. The program has been around for a while, but it’s especially helpful in tough economic times.”

The federal designation of teacher shortage areas enables borrowers who had no outstanding Federal Family Education Loan on July 1, 1987, but who had an outstanding FFEL on July 1, 1993, to qualify for deferment of loan repayment under the Federal Stafford Program anytime within the life of the borrower’s loans.

Federal Perkins Loan borrowers who are full-time teachers in the designated shortage areas may qualify for cancellation of up to 100 percent of their Perkins loan.

U.S. Department of Education Teacher Shortage Areas 2008-09 and 2009-10

Art (K-12)

Career & Technical Education (7-12)

English as a New Language (K-12)

Health (K-12)

Language Arts (7-12)

Mathematics (7-12)

Music (K-12)

Physical Education (K-12)

Science (7-12)

Social Science (7-12)

Special Education (K-12)

Speech Pathologists

World Languages (K-12)

For further information, contact the South Dakota Department of Education at (605) 773-4669.