Some states are facing the crunch of not having enough teachers, so they are considering providing an incentive to new teachers: teach in a rural area and graduate college debt free.
South Carolina is facing such an acute teacher shortage in poor rural districts that the state is considering the possibility of offering future teachers the chance to have no college debt upon graduation. The catch is that they must spend eight years in the neediest districts, which are rural and often remote from stores, restaurants, and entertainment.
The current $5 million loan forgiveness program has not attracted enough teachers who are interested. “We’re in deep trouble,” said Melanie Barton, director of South Carolina’s Education Oversight Committee. “We used to go to Ohio and Pennsylvania a lot to get teachers. Now those states don’t have surpluses.”
Teacher shortages are nationwide. Each year, colleges in South Carolina graduate about 2,000 fewer teachers than the number needed. Students are opting to not become teachers, and those that do often do not want to work in remote areas.