The V.I. Department of Education has again received approval for its designated teacher-shortage area proposal. New and current public and private school teachers are eligible for federal student loan deferment and cancellations retroactive to the 2004-2005 school year, according to a press release from Education Human Resources Director Dayna M. Clendinen.
Teaching professionals who had no outstanding Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan on July 1, 1987, but who had an outstanding FFELProgram loan on July 1,1993,will qualify for deferment of loan repayment under the Federal Stafford Program anytime within the life of the their loan(s). Clendinen said, “The proposal enables Federal Perkins Loan borrowers who are full time teachers of mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual education or any other field of expertise where the department determines there is a shortage of qualified teachers to qualify for cancellation of up to 100 percent of their loan; and further enables scholars to qualify for the reduction of teaching obligation under the Paul Douglas Teacher Scholarship Program.
Clendinen said that while the department continues to work toward the certification of all of its teachers, a requirement of the No Child Left behind Act (NCLB), it is not necessary for the individual to be certified or licensed to receive cancellation benefits. Teachers must be considered as a full-time professional for the purposes of salary, tenure and retirement benefits.
Teacher cancellations may be received for services performed in a private academy if the private academy has established its nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and if the academy is providing elementary and/or secondary education according to state law. To obtain a teaching deferment, candidates must submit a deferment form to their lender for each school year of teaching service. Teachers should contact the Division of Human Resources to get the form certified. All candidates are reminded that they must reapply each school year for a targeted teaching deferment.
Teachers qualify for cancellation (discharge) of up to 100 percent of a Federal PerkinsLoan if they have served full time in a public or non-profit elementary or secondary school system as a teacher in the subject areas determined by the department to have a shortage of qualified teachers
For more information about teaching deferments for the FFEL Program, consult your promissory note, the lender or guarantor holding your loan, or the Division of Human Resources. Direct Loan borrowers should contact the Direct Loan ServicingCenter at 1-800-848-0979. Federal Stafford/SLS borrowers who have questions concerning their loans, including the teacher shortage area deferment, can also call the Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4FED-AID.
**Areas approved and designated by the Federal Government as Teacher Shortage Areas for the US Virgin Islands are as follows: Art, Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL), Elementary Education, English, Foreign Languages, Mathematics (7-12), Music, Physical Education, Reading, School Nurse, Science, Social Studies, Special Education, and Therapists (OT, PT, ST).