Representative Joe Wilson

Representing the 2nd District of South Carolina

Wilson Introduces Bill to Expand Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Jan 29, 2003
Press Release
House and Senate Leaders Show Support to Address Teacher Shortfall in Disadvantaged Schools
Today, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), a member of the House Committee on Education & the Workforce, introduced the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2003, H.R. 438, legislation which dramatically expands the federal student loan forgiveness for Americans who teach math, science, or special education for five years in disadvantaged public schools. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) plans to introduce similar legislation in the Senate. “We must make sure that the promise of high-quality education extends to every student and every town in America, even our rural and disadvantaged school districts. The Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act of 2003 will help to fulfill our responsibility to children by ensuring that our most competent and caring teachers are adequately supported in their charge to educate our nation’s future,” said Rep. Wilson. “I am pleased for the opportunity to work with President George W. Bush, Education Chairman John Boehner, and Senator Lindsey Graham who have all provided invaluable leadership in addressing the teacher shortage.” H.R. 438 expands the current teacher loan forgiveness program from the current $5,000 to a maximum of $17,500 for teachers who commit to teaching math, science, or special education for five years in some of our nation’s most disadvantaged schools. The initiative is part of President Bush’s FY 2004 Budget plans and would fulfill the No Child Left Behind Act’s goal of placing a highly qualified teacher in every classroom by the 2005-2006 school year. “I’m grateful to Joe for taking the lead on this important legislation to support America’s school teachers and help public schools put a highly qualified teacher in every classroom,” said Education & Workforce Chairman John Boehner (R-OH), an original co-sponsor of H.R. 438. “As President Bush and Mrs. Bush have said, we’re asking a lot of our teachers, and they deserve our full support. Joe Wilson’s bill will help to give thousands of disadvantaged children the chance to learn from a highly qualified teacher, and it will be a priority for our committee this year.” According to administration estimates, under H.R. 438, approximately 7,000 math, science, and special education teachers nationwide would be eligible to receive an average benefit of $13,300 under the President’s proposal, compared to the benefit of $4,800 they receive under the current program. “There is no uncertainty about teacher recruitment,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “We are going to have to replace half of the teachers that exist today in the next decade.” “Most college students graduating from college, the biggest debt they face is a student loan. A college degree is a good investment. I think it’s a good investment for taxpayers to help forgive college loans of graduates going into teaching. Our bill provides an incentive for college graduates to go into teaching in the hardest-to-recruit areas,” said Sen. Graham. ###