A New Bill Provides Assistance for Early Ed Degree Repayment

Many child care providers struggle with low wages and few are able to afford the high cost of earning a degree. A new bill, AB 847, was recently introduced that would provide higher education loan repayment assistance for child care providers who received a degree in ECE on or after May 1, 2009. The bill was introduced by Representative Black and has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Children and Families. If passed, the bill would allow child care providers who have worked in the field for at least one year to be reimbursed for 10% of their outstanding student loan principal amount or $1000 (whichever is less). Providers who remain in the field would be eligible to receive additional reimbursements every year- up to five years. Read the full text of the bill here.

This bill, along with the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin scholarship program, would help child care professionals tremendously with the overwhelming cost of earning a degree. Making higher education more affordable is important because providers who have completed ECE specific higher education are linked with better outcomes for young children in care. To support this bill, contact your legislator (find out who represents you here) or Representative Tamara Grigsby, the chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families.

New Higher Ed Loan Repayment Plan Option

Beginning today, the federal government is offering a new student loan repayment plan option that is based on income. This plan, called the “Income Based Repayment” (IBR) plan, was created to make loan repayment affordable for students while considering their income and family size. If eligible for the program, individuals are required to make smaller monthly payments and may be able to have the balance of their loans forgiven after 25 years of repayments. You can read more about this repayment option here.

The IBR plan is similar to the existing “Income Contingent Repayment” (ICR) plan, but more generous. Under the ICR plan, monthly payments are based on an individual’s (plus their spouse’s, if applicable) adjusted gross income, family size, and total amount of loans due.

Individuals working in Public Service positions (including early education professionals), may be eligible to have their loans forgiven after 10 years of consecutive monthly payments. These individuals must have a ICR or IBR plan through the “Direct Loan” program and work in a public service position throughout all 120 payments. You can learn more about this opportunity here.