Kentucky Department of Education offers loan forgiveness for education students

MURRAY — Attract diverse teachers to Kentucky: That’s what Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis hopes a new loan forgiveness program will do.

It’s called the Kentucky Academy and Equity and Teaching. The program will allow certain students to apply for state money that they will not have to pay back if they teach in Kentucky.

Bailey Ramage is an education student at Murray State University. She plans on working in early education after she graduates, but she worries about paying back her student loans.

“Taking out loans is hard, and having to pay them back while starting out to be a teacher is going to be even more hard, considering how much we get paid,” says Ramage.

The new program might help students like Ramage. It’s designed to help keep students who attend Universities in Kentucky stay and teach in Kentucky when they graduate. Students who meet the requirements and are working on their undergraduate degrees can get $5,000 a semester, and $2,500 a semester for their master’s degrees. If students don’t teach in Kentucky, or do not get their teaching certificate, then they have to pay the money back with 6 percent interest.

Dr. David Whaley is the dean of the Murray State University College of Education. He says the cost of school can push people away from becoming teachers.

“We’re delighted that the Kentucky Department of Education has come out with this opportunity of enhancing our diverse pool,” Whaley says.

Education student Mark Jackson says a program like that would be a big help.

“I’m in debt a lot, so that would help me tons if some of the debt would be a erased,” says Jackson.

Like Jackson, Ramage says having less debt would make a big difference getting started.

“I have a lot of loans taken out, so to be forgiven for those would be amazing,” says Ramag