|How do I fund my deaf education studies?
Several funding sources are available to support students majoring in deaf education. First and foremost, students should make an appointment with the financial aid office at the school in which they are enrolling. Trained financial aid specialists will provide personalized information to support your studies.
Grants and Student Loans - There are numerous types of grants and student loans available to students. The first step is completing the FAFSA financial aid form at the federal website for Student Financial Aid. At the same time, students should be aware of public (e.g., government sponsored scholarships) and private funding sources. Depending on the type of student loan you receive, loan forgiveness may be applicable for those working in low income schools or as special education teachers. For example, 100% of Perkins Teacher Loans may be cancelled over a five year period. In addition, there are discharge programs where providers of early intervention services to disabled children loans are cancelled. Click here for more information on loan discharges.
Scholarships - The US Department of Education offers personnel preparation grants to institutions of higher education to assist students in attending a teacher preparation program in special education. Several deaf education programs throughout the country have been awarded these grants and offer scholarships and/or stipends for students majoring in deaf education. In addition to federal support, some university programs are sponsored by private foundations. The www.deafed.net website provides information regarding scholarships for which you may be eligible to apply.
Certification Tuition Waivers - Another funding source may be state departments of education or local school districts. Many states are experiencing a critical shortage of deaf education teachers and are offering incentives for teachers to earn an additional teaching certificate in deaf education. Check with the university program that you plan to attend and request information about support for certification programs.
Loan Forbearance - As a part of AmeriCorps, Teach for America provides loan forbearance and interest payments on qualified student loans during the two years of service that are required (participants must not have served previously as AmeriCorps members). Teach for America corps members are recent college graduates from all different fields of study who agree to teach for two years in urban or rural communities that are usually low income. In addition to the loan forbearance and interest payments, corps members receive salaries from the schools where they work and education awards at the end of each year of service (currently $4,725 each year), and are provided moral support throughout the program. Many participants report that this is a life-changing experience.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness - Currently, teachers may earn cancellation of loans in exchange for five years of full time service for up to $17,500. Click here for more information on Teacher Loan Forgiveness forms. It may be helpful to talk to experienced teachers who are receiving loan forgiveness. The Special Education Chatboard found on Teachers.Net is a virtual meeting place and a forum for a wide range of topics. Because rules change, be sure and ask your financial aid office for specific information regarding loan forgiveness and forbearance programs.