Managing Student Loans - a Q&A

Do you know how much of a factor student loans are in contributing to teachers leaving the profession within five years?

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I do not but the amount of debt I hear about from new teachers is unfathomable for me. I don’t know how they can pay that debt down and have the life I had with significantly less debt, with the salaries we earn. 🥺 One member in my department had $100,000 dollars in debt. It took him 10 years to pay off by not dating (“Who can afford a girlfriend, much less a family, with that kind of debt?”) and having multiple roommates (“How can I pay down debt if I’m paying $1500/month in rent?”). He was looking forward to actually having a life now! Wow! That was impressive and sad—that’s self discipline.

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This is a great question! Most of the research in this area has focused on the financial barriers teachers face when deciding to enter the profession more than attrition due to student debt, which is harder to quantify. For example, a recent report highlighted how unequal debt loads across race may be hindering teacher diversity. Black graduates have an average debt load $7,400 higher than white graduates, making the average public school starting teacher salary of $38,617 harder to manage (or even accept in the first place).

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