The Education Subcommittee of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee reported favorably on a proposal to provide a some student loan forgiveness for teachers in STEM subjects, but not before further watering down the already-modest original proposal.
As originally written, SB 290 would have provided $16,000 in student loan forgiveness to teachers in STEM subjects who had taught for eight years. An amendment proposed by Democratic Senator and teacher Dwight Bullard and adopted by the subcommittee stretches the loan repayment over four years – so that a teacher receives only $4,000 in loan repayment after completing eight years of teaching, and must continue to teach several more years to reach the full $16,000 of student loan forgiveness.
The original proposal provided only $2,000 of loan forgiveness per year of teaching – a pittance compared to the salary penalties of $10,000 per year that strong math and science graduates pay to teach in Florida’s high schools when compared to their earning potential in other career paths. By stretching the loan repayments out over several years, the amendment further reduces the impact of the program.
But it will probably not matter. The House companion bill, HB 15, has not been acted upon and will probably die for the session when committee meetings end soon.