Many teachers struggling with low pay and high student debt, survey finds

In addition to being underpaid, many teachers are struggling to pay off hefty student loans, leaving them feeling overloaded and trapped, according to results of a new survey by NPR Ed. On a scale of 1 to 5, with five being “terrified” about their student debt, 28% of respondents said they were indeed “terrified,” while another 24% selected “4”, meaning a majority of teachers surveyed were either “terrified” or just shy of being “terrified.”

Teachers who included comments with their results said such things as: “I feel like I’ll be making the last payment from my grave.” … and … “It is an albatross around my neck. Years of paying and I feel like I’m getting nowhere.”

Based on the survey, NPR Ed identified several key issues related to the student debt problem among teachers:

  • They are pressured to earn more degrees.
  • Anemic teacher pay worsens the situation.
  • More and more teachers are going into debt to finance their education.
  • Loan programs – and loan forgiveness programs – are confusing.

“It costs entirely too much money to become a teacher that gets paid barely above the poverty line,” said one teacher with more than $50,000 of debt. “Teachers today are being asked to go into heavy debt and are not being paid as the professionals they are.”

The NEA and WEAC are working to help identify and support solutions to the growing student loan crisis in America. Read more here and here.

Read the entire NPR Ed article:

Teachers With Student Debt: The Struggle, The Causes And What Comes Next

“I feel like I’ll be making the last payment from my grave.” “It is an albatross around my neck. Years of paying and I feel like I’m getting nowhere.” Those were some of the comments we received from more than 2,000 respondents to NPR Ed’s first Teacher Student Debt survey.