Nearing the end of my fourth year teaching full-time, I was recently reminded of how thankful I am for a generous, forgivable loan I received while attending the Stanford Teacher Education Program, also known as STEP.
As most people in the world are aware, Stanford is not a low-cost university. My one year attending STEP, including all expenses such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and transportation approached $75,000 in cost.
Without financial aid, I could not have considered Stanford. The centerpiece of my financial aid package was the Dorothy Durfee Avery Loan Forgiveness program. It offers teacher candidates $20,000 towards their education at Stanford. I could not have attended STEP without it. I believe this applies to many of those who attend STEP.
A recent article, Gift to Stanford Teacher Education Program reduces its graduates from debt, mentioned that over 500 STEP graduates benefited from the Avery loan over the past nine years. I am honored to count myself among those who received the loan.
As someone who transitioned from industry, my financial need was not as great as younger students, yet unlike most of them, I have a spouse and kids, a mortgage, and other expenses. Hence, my commitment to teaching placed me on a significantly lower income profile than most of my neighbors with a comparable cost profile. Needless to say, finances became tight very quickly.
Fortunately, with the Avery loan, and other financial aid used to cover the cost of my education, nearly ninety percent of the principle of the loan amounts is forgivable over a five-year period assuming specific conditions are met. The compounding interest, at 6.9 percent, amounts to my true out of pocket expenses, in addition to the significantly reduced income. Nonetheless, I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend STEP, and now to teach filled with the principles I learned in the program.