The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) on June 21 approved an application from the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) to designate 13 of its academic disciplines or subject matter as teacher-shortage areas during the 2016-17 school year, according to a press release issued by VIDE. As a result of the USDE’s approval, student grant and loan recipients who are qualified to teach in the following areas may benefit by receiving loan cancellations or other incentives.
Statewide academic disciplines or subject matter include art, bilingual/English as a second language (ESL), elementary education, English, foreign languages, mathematics (grades 7-12), music, physical education, reading, school nursing, science, social studies and special education.
According to the USDE, the benefits to student financial aid recipients are indicated in the following regulatory provisions that:
• enable a borrower who had no outstanding Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan on July 1 , 1987, but who had an outstanding FFEL Program loan on July 1, 1993, to qualify for deferment of loan repayment under the Stafford Loan Program anytime within the life of the borrower’s loan(s) for up to three years of service as a full-time teacher in a private elementary or secondary school in a teacher shortage area designated by the department, and as certified by the chief administrative officer of the particular school in which the borrower is teaching;
• 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 State educational agency determined there is a shortage of qualified teachers to qualify for cancellation of up to 100% of the outstanding balance on the borrower’s Federal Perkins loans; and
• enables grant recipients to fulfill their teaching obligation under the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program (regarding the requirement to serve at least four academic years, with in eight years of graduation) by teaching in a "high-need field," which includes academic disciplines/subject areas identified as teacher shortage areas at the time the grant recipient begins teaching in that field.
Stafford Loan and Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS) borrowers with questions concerning their loans may contact the Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4FED-AID. Federal Perkins Loan borrowers should contact the school where they received the loan.
For other questions or concerns, contact the VIDE’s Human Resources Office at 774-0100.