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What is the Teacher Pledge program?
The Teacher Pledge is an opt-in loan forgiveness 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).
- 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, 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.
What if a student cannot complete the FAFSA?
If a student is unable to complete the FAFSA, they should contact the Teacher Pledge program manager to discuss their options for participation.
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 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.
When did the program launch and how long will it run?
The program was announced on August 18, 2020. Right now, the program is funded to run for five years.
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
- English as a Second Language
- Foreign Languages
- Mathematics (Secondary)
- Reading (Teacher)
- Science (Secondary)
- Special 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.
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.