Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) introduced a bill Monday aiming to tackle the problem of teacher debt.
The bill, the Consider Teachers Act of 2019, amends the TEACH grant program to resolve problems where some of those grants were inadvertently converted into loans that must be paid back with interest.
“The TEACH grant is an important program to incentivize teachers to serve in neglected communities, but 12 years of poor government management has turned these grants into groans for thousands of teachers,” Braun said in a statement.
“To show our appreciation for America’s great teachers, let’s get off the sidelines and fix this broken system once and for all.”
“Arizona teachers use TEACH grants to serve Arizona families in low-income schools. The government made a promise to those teachers, and our commonsense bill ensures the government honors its obligation,” Sinema added.
The TEACH program, established in 2007, provides grant assistance to students who serve four years as a full-time teacher in high-need communities.
The majority of TEACH grants, 66 percent, are converted into Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans which must be paid back with interest, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
The senators said that many of those conversions are the result of small paperwork errors.