In the News: A Student Loan Nightmare — The Teacher in the Wrong Payment Plan

An Oregon teacher who spent ten years making payments on his student loans only to learn that, because he was not enrolled in the proper payment plan, he would not qualify for a loan forgiveness program, is the subject of an article in the New York Times by Ron Lieber.

In 2015, he discovered that he was enrolled in a particular type of ineligible payment plan and would need to start his decade of payments all over again, even though he had been paying more each month than he would have if he had been in an eligible plan. Because of his 8.25 percent interest rate, which he could not refinance due to loan rules, even those higher payments weren’t putting a dent in his principal. So the $70,000 or so that he did pay over the period amounted to nothing, and he’ll most likely pay at least that much going forward.

In an EdNext article “The Tangled World of Teacher Debt,” Jason D. Delisle and Alexander Holt describe how common problems like this are. As they write in their introduction,

Welcome to the world of student loans and debt forgiveness for teachers, a patchwork of overlapping programs, contradictory regulations, and expensive subsidies that date back to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s signing of the National Defense Education Act of 1958.

— Education Next

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