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Hanna proposes way to help teachers pay off student loans

Ellen Abbott
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) visits J.D. George Elementary in Verona.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) is proposing a plan that will help teachers pay off student loans.  

Hanna toured an Oneida County elementary school that could benefit from his Teacher Loan Repayment Act. It would not only help teachers, but attract more educators to schools like J.D. George Elementary in Verona, a Title I school, which means at least 40 percent of the students are from low income families.  

Hanna says the proposal would take existing federal loan forgiveness programs for teachers and roll them into one viable option.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

“The programs that are out there, less than 20 percent are taken advantage of. So we know that they’re there. We know that people would like to take advantage of them, but they’re confusing. What we’re trying to do here is consolidate them into this plan, which helps the neediest students, in the neediest places,” said Hanna.

Second grade teacher Eileen Kolb -- who’s looking at thousands of dollars in debt -- says an incentive like this would help her who, as a second year teacher, is just beginning the master’s degree she’ll need to continue teaching. 

"Being a full time teacher, and then taking classes on top of that and worrying how to pay for classes and still having loans from undergrad, it’s a lot to take on,” said Kolb.

Hanna says the payments to teachers would increase every year, starting at $250 a month. The total repayment figure for one teacher is just over $23,000.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.