Research Report

In Debt: Student Loan Burdens Among Teachers

Distressed teacher seated at a desk in their classroom.
Emma García, Wesley Wei, Susan Kemper Patrick, Melanie Leung-Gagné, Michael A. DiNapoli Jr
December 2023 | Learning Policy Institute
Distressed teacher seated at a desk in their classroom.

This report from the Learning Policy Institute explores the impact of student loan burdens on teachers, particularly as federal student loan repayments resume after a COVID-19 hiatus. Using data from the National Teacher and Principal Survey, the report reveals that over 60% of full-time, public school teachers (approximately 2.1 million) have taken out student loans. While student loan debt affects teachers across demographics, newer teachers, special education teachers, and Black teachers are more likely to have borrowed and still owe payments. The report also highlights that a significant proportion of teachers, including those over 61 years old, continue to repay loans, with an average monthly payment of $342. The report emphasizes the need for policy interventions, such as expanding loan forgiveness programs, improving teacher preparation affordability, increasing salaries, and providing tax credits and housing subsidies to address the widespread issue of student loan debt among teachers.