The 2021 Underwood-Smith Teacher Loan Assistance Application will open on July 1, 2021.
Before receiving an award, each eligible teacher will enter into an agreement to teach full-time in a public school in West Virginia in a subject area or geographic area of critical need under contract with a county board for a period of two school years for each year for which loan assistance is received. A partial award may be granted to an eligible recipient whose contract term is for less than a full school year. A partial award is calculated by prorating the full award amount based on the number of days taught in the school’s calendar year.
Each award recipient is eligible to receive loan assistance of up to $3,000 annually. Awards will be paid to the recipient’s federal educational loan institution, not directly to the recipient, only after it is determined the recipient has complied with all the terms of the agreement. Award amounts shall not exceed the recipient’s outstanding loan balance. Loans eligible for loan repayment assistance are federal student loans in the recipient’s name that were used for educational costs associated with obtaining a degree in teaching or a teaching credential.
Parent PLUS Loans are not eligible for loan repayment assistance. Loan repayment assistance will not reimburse applicants for payments to loans already made. Federal teacher loan forgiveness programs shall be considered when awards are calculated. Awards are contingent upon annual funding of the program by the West Virginia State Legislature.
Recipients will annually submit proof of fulfillment of the terms of the loan assistance agreement to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission in accordance with the loan assistance agreement. Half of the annual award will be paid after fulfilling the first year of the agreement; the second half of the annual award will be paid after fulfilling the second year of the agreement. Recipients may have their award terminated or may be required to repay all or part of an award according to the terms of the agreement if the recipient does not comply with the terms of the agreement.
The recipient is eligible for renewal of loan assistance only during the periods when the recipient is under contract with a county board to teach in a subject area of critical need in a school or geographic area of critical need. An applicant must have completed the terms of previous loan assistance awards before being renewed. No recipient may receive loan assistance in excess of $15,000.