A year-long investigation by National Public Radio (NPR) has helped encourage the Department of Education to forgive some questionable loans for teachers.

The loans started out as the TEACH Grant Program, which, according to the story, was created to  "entice talented, young teachers to take hard-to-fill jobs at schools in lower-income districts".

If a teacher failed to uphold his or her part of the bargain, the grant turns into a with-interest loan.

The teachers who took advantage of the grant were required to report to the program annually, via forms that were difficult to obtain (an issue that DOE admitted to), and by specific dates, or else the grant would morph into a loan. Often times, according to the story, the reminders were sent to invalid addresses, and most times sent during the summer when administrators (needed to sign the papers) were on vacation or otherwise difficult to reach.

One of the situations highlighted by the story was of a teacher that took advantage of the grant. For 3 years, she reported annually, but her 4 annual report arrived a week late, turning the $24,000 grant into a loan.

The Department of Education now says that it will allow teachers who had grants turned into loans because of paperwork issues to submit another appeal. If the teachers can show that they acted within the "spirit of the program", the debts will be forgiven and any payments made to the loans will be refunded.


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