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What is the Teacher Pledge program?
The Teacher Pledge is an opt-in forgivable loan program for teacher education students who pledge to stay and teach in the state at a PK-12 school for three to four years.
Who qualifies for the Teacher Pledge?
Undergraduate and graduate students who meet the following criteria:
- Enroll in a School of Education teacher education program.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each year enrolled in the program.
- Pledge to teach in the state of Wisconsin for at least three to four years.
How does a student participate?
There is no application for the Teacher Pledge program. A student must be accepted into and enroll in a teacher education program at the School of Education, complete the FAFSA for each year enrolled in the program, and sign the Teacher Pledge to teach in Wisconsin. The Office of Student Financial Aid will package students with Teacher Pledge funds as part of their financial aid awards.
Can international students participate?
The Teacher Pledge is available to teacher education students who are able to receive federal aid via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). International students do not qualify for federal aid in the United States, so cannot participate in the Teacher Pledge.
Can DACA students participate?
Can students who participate in Bucky's Tuition Promise or Badger Promise participate?
What if I have to take a semester off?
Students who take the Teacher Pledge then take time off from their teacher education program (for whatever reason) with intent to return must re-enroll in classes within one term (not counting summer) to maintain continued eligibility for Teacher Pledge funding.
For example, if a student taking the Teacher Pledge withdraws after the Spring 2023 term with plans to re-enroll in Spring 2024, we can resume Teacher Pledge funding in Spring 2024, because they were gone for only one term (Fall 2023). If the student does not re-enroll by Spring 2024, we cannot offer continued Teacher Pledge funding.
If the student is dis-enrolled from their teacher education program for more than one term, their grace period for Teacher Pledge funds already received will have begun at their point of initial exit. The student will not be eligible to receive further Teacher Pledge funds, nor will the student be eligible for Teacher Pledge loan forgiveness.
If the student returns after one term or less, they may continue to receive Teacher Pledge funds and their grace period will begin at completion of and graduation from their teacher education program.
I took the Teacher Pledge and I just graduated! What's next?
- Complete your online Teacher Pledge loan exit interview with the Bursar’s Office.
- Obtain your Wisconsin educator license through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).
- Obtain an at-least 75% full-time, full-school-year teaching position at a PK-12 Wisconsin school.
- Work at least 75% full-time at a PK-12 Wisconsin school for three to four school years over the five-year post-graduation period.
- Complete the employment verification survey annually to be considered for Teacher Pledge loan forgiveness. You will receive this survey via email at the end of each school year of your five-year post-graduation period.
- Complete Teacher Pledge student surveys and other research-related requests.
When does the "five-year post-graduation period" begin?
All Teacher Pledge alumni have a five-year post-graduation grace period. During this time — also known as the “five-year window” — Teacher Pledge alumni are expected to complete their three-to-four year Wisconsin teaching committment. The five-year window begins the next school year following your graduation (e.g. whether you graduate in Fall 2021, Spring 2022, or Summer 2022, the five-year window begins in Fall 2022).
Please note Teacher Pledge alumni do not have to make payments (and no interest will accumulate) during the period between graduation and the beginning of the five-year window.
What is the deadline to take the Teacher Pledge?
Fall/Spring Teacher Pledge offers can be accepted any time throughout the academic year, as long as the necessary steps are completed by two weeks before the final day of the Spring term. Summer Teacher Pledge offers must be accepted by one week before the final day of the Summer term.
What are the requirements for loan forgiveness?
- Successfully complete a UW–Madison teacher education program.
- Obtain a teaching license from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
- Be hired for at least a 75 percent full-time, full-year teaching position by a PK-12 school in Wisconsin.
- Maintain employment as a teacher in Wisconsin for three to four years and complete employment verification annually.
- Teaching must be performed within five years of graduation.
How much of the loan can the student have forgiven?
All funds awarded as part of the Teacher Pledge program can be forgiven if the student fulfills three or four years of teaching.
What is the loan cancellation schedule?
For students who teach in high-need subjects or high-need schools in the state, the loan forgiveness period requires three years of teaching in Wisconsin.
For students who teach in a non-high-need subject and non-high-need school, the loan forgiveness period requires four years of teaching in Wisconsin. See schedule below for the annual rates of forgiveness. Forgiveness is applied upon completion of a full academic year of at least 75% employment, with annual employment verification.
|Must be completed over a five-year period|
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
|High-need subject or school||
|Non-high-need subject and school||
What qualifies as a high-need subject area?
High-need subject areas in Wisconsin (as defined annually by Wisconsin DPI):
- Bilingual Education
- Business Education
- English as a Second Language (ESL)
- Family and Consumer Education
- Foreign Languages
- Marketing Education
- Mathematics (Secondary)
- Physical Education
- Reading (Teacher)
- Science (Secondary)
- Special Education
- Technology Education
What qualifies as a high-need school?
High-need schools are qualifying schools within federal Title I districts in Wisconsin, as defined annually by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid. A directory of these schools can be found at the Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) Directory.
Current Wisconsin TCLI Directory Schools:
When using the directory, search by school name; not all schools within a Title 1 school district necessarily qualify. Qualifying schools must have greater than 30% of low-income students.
What if the student does not fulfill the forgiveness requirements?
If the student does not meet the forgiveness requirements, the student will be required to start making payments to UW–Madison for Teacher Pledge funds awarded within five years of graduation.
What will the terms of the loan be if the student does not meet the forgiveness requirements?
The loan has no interest unless the student does not meet the forgiveness requirements, at which point an interest rate equivalent to the Perkins interest rate (5 percent) will be applied to the balance. The remaining principal and interest will be collected over a 10-year repayment period.
Can the Teacher Pledge program pay for study abroad?
The Teacher Pledge program may provide support toward study abroad fees for teacher education students who participate in credit-earning programs through the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The International Academic Programs’ (IAP) office has 250+ study abroad programs from which to choose.
If you are a Teacher Pledge student who plans to study abroad, please reach out to the Teacher Pledge program manager, Carly Marco, firstname.lastname@example.org for more specific information.
Does the Teacher Pledge program cover any costs associated with the freshman and sophomore years?
The Teacher Pledge program is designed to assist students when they are enrolled in a teacher education program. Because freshmen and sophomores are not accepted into the undergraduate teacher education program until their junior year, the program does not cover these academic years.
Will there be an exit interview with the student explaining the terms of forgiveness?
Students who choose to participate are required to complete an exit interview with the Bursar’s Office upon graduation to ensure the terms for forgiveness are understood.
Will there be research and evaluation associated with the Teacher Pledge?
Beginning in the 2020-21 academic year, the Student Success Through Applied Research (SSTAR) Lab at the UW–Madison will partner with the School of Education to evaluate the Teacher Pledge program. The goal is to support the design and implementation of the new loan program in order to maximize its benefits to current and future students.