February 29, 2004 - Santa Cruz Sentinel: Report questions student loan programs including Perkins loans that may be forgiven if students agree to teach in a high-demand area, serve in the military or serve the Peace Corps for a certain number of years

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: February 2004 Peace Corps Headlines: February 29, 2004 - Santa Cruz Sentinel: Report questions student loan programs including Perkins loans that may be forgiven if students agree to teach in a high-demand area, serve in the military or serve the Peace Corps for a certain number of years

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-188-54.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.188.54) on Sunday, February 29, 2004 - 7:10 pm: Edit Post

Report questions student loan programs including Perkins loans that may be forgiven if students agree to teach in a high-demand area, serve in the military or serve the Peace Corps for a certain number of years



Report questions student loan programs including Perkins loans that may be forgiven if students agree to teach in a high-demand area, serve in the military or serve the Peace Corps for a certain number of years

Report questions student loan programs
Little tracking of whether work commitments are honored
By JONDI GUMZ
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ ó When legislators see shortages of teachers or nurses or doctors, they often forgive college loans to students who promise to enter those professions.

But a new report questions whether this is successful.

"Despite their worthy goals, virtually no reliable data exist to show the programs actually work," according to the report by the American Institutes of Research, a nonprofit that studied 100 programs in 43 states.

Only about 50 programs were able to provide data on how many students fulfilled their work commitment, the report found.

"When state budgets are tight and college prices are continuing to rise, itís essential we know which loan programs are working and which are not," said Rita Kirshstein, the lead author of the report.

The most popular of these programs at UC Santa Cruz is the Federal Perkins Loan, which was awarded to about 1,300 of the 14,500 students enrolled this year.

Students can have a portion of their loan forgiven if they agree to teach in a high-demand area, serve in the military or serve the Peace Corps for a certain number of years.

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However, campus officials did not have statistics on how many students fulfilled such commitments.

"We just donít have good tracking information," said campus spokesman Jim Burns.

The Perkins Loan program is just one of several federal programs that is designed to help students pay for college and ease work-force shortages at the same time.

Last year, Congress passed a law that would forgive up to $17,500 in loans for math, reading, science and special education teachers who work five consecutive years in schools in which at least 30 percent of the students come from low-income families. The previous year, a law was passed forgiving loans for nurses who work in areas with nursing shortages.

California legislators approved a program during the administration of former Gov. Gray Davis to forgive loans for college graduates entering the teaching profession.

Burns said he did not have statistics on how many students participated in that program, which is not available this year,

Burns said itís up to lenders to keep track of whether graduates honor the commitments they made when they got the loan.

Sen. Bruce McPherson, R-Santa Cruz, said he would like to see changes to improve the accountability of student loan programs tied to work-force commitments.

"The premise is good and workable," he said. "Iím not ready to give up on it yet."

Contact Jondi Gumz at jgumz@santacruzsentinel.com.




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Story Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Student Loans

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By Kellie Seelig (gm.peacecorps.gov - 216.147.130.202) on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - 3:18 pm: Edit Post

I am a nurse currently serving as a peace corps volunteer in West Africa. I am looking for statistics on how many nurses join the peace corps and their et rate. I work here with another volunteer who is a nurse teaching nursing school. We are interested in trying to start a pilot program bringing nurses to be nurse trainers with the health groups, much like the teacher trainers that come with the education groups.


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