U.S. Department of Education to erase debts of teachers, fix troubled grant program

December 10, 2018

A plan is being released to help teachers who have been wrongly hit with debts, sometimes totaling tens of thousands of dollars, because of a troubled federal grant program. Now, in a tacit acknowledgement that the terms of the TEACH Grant program have been too inflexible and punishing, the department is doing something about it.

For public school teacher Kaitlyn McCollum, even simple acts like washing dishes or taking a shower can fill her with dread.

“It will just hit me like a ton of bricks,” McCollum says. ” ‘Oh my God, I owe all of that money.’ And it’s, like, a knee-buckling moment of panic all over again.”

She and her family recently moved to a much smaller, older house. One big reason for the downsizing: a $24,000 loan that McCollum has been unfairly saddled with because of a paperwork debacle at the U.S. Department of Education.