The legislation would grant up to $3,000 a year in student loan forgiveness for up to four years for teachers and counselors who work in rural Idaho schools.

 

Taking cues from other states like Michigan, Maine, Virginia, and Maryland, Idaho is about to introduce some new legislation to help deal with student loan debt. With seemingly no support coming from the federal government to help out those with student loans, states have been taking matters into their own hands.

The new legislation from Reps. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, and Sally Toone, D-Gooding, was unanimously voted to be introduced by the House Ways and Means Committee. The legislation would grant up to $3,000 a year in student loan forgiveness for up to four years for teachers and counselors who work in rural Idaho schools.

Jordan said that the rural school districts in Plummer, Troy and others in her district are losing families and the local economy is suffering. Even her son’s school advised her to enroll him elsewhere.  The local school was losing teachers and had high class sizes and could not meet the needs of a high-scoring student. She has now resorted to sending her children to a private school in Spokane.

Toone, a former teacher of 37 years, said, “We started the year this year with 120 classrooms that they couldn’t find teachers for in our school system.” With such a large deficit of teachers, something needs to be done. Toone said that the new teacher loan forgiveness for these rural schools could drive graduates back home to their rural communities to make an impact and teach near home.

The rural teacher student loan forgiveness would cost the state general fund $3 million a year. The state Board of Education would administer the program and would allow up to 1,000 teachers and counselors per year to qualify.