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Webinar Recap: How Do Students Pay for College

A growing body of research suggests that concerns about compensation generally—and about being able to repay student loans in particular—are dissuading college students from choosing teaching as a career. To help AACTE members better understand the financial pressures impacting education students, a new issue brief takes a detailed look at how students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education pay for college, including the costs they face and the financial sources they tap to meet those expenses. 

During AACTE’s webinar “How Do Students Pay for College,” author Jacqueline King and Jane West discussed the implications of these findings, as well as recommendations for campus practice and federal policy.

King began the webinar by explaining, “Student financing of education feels archaic and arcane … can be kind of intimidating.” To help those who were unable to join this webinar, outlined below are specific parts of the online discussion that may address some of your most pressing concerns around financing teacher candidate education. Access the recording at aacte.org. 

For Administrators and Faculty
Beginning at 8:27, King and West present and contextualize the high-level findings that show the current financial needs of teacher candidates, looking specifically at the following areas:

  • Percentage of students receiving grants and their effects on student budgets: (13:00)
  • Distribution of education students by race/ethnicity and:
    • Parental support and dependency status: (19:56)
    • Family income: (23:00)
    • Employment (26:00)
    • Student loans (35:00) 

At (43:00), the webinar concludes with reflections on federal policies and recommendations for EPPs (55:00) to address the underutilization, as well as other issues brought to light by the brief.

For candidates

The brief recognizes that pay is the number one reason for disinterest in becoming a teacher and that federal programs to help teachers earn their degrees are underutilized. At 38:00, you can hear more about the breakdown of debt to income ratio for the profession. The speakers discuss how to decide what percentage of debt is recommended for various candidate scenarios. Additionally, at 13:00, the speakers show the different types of grants available to candidates and their utilization, with a specific focus on the underutilization of TEACH grants and how to improve that rate. 

Finally, for those looking for information on debt repayment programs, whether it be how to access them or help candidates navigate that access, West explains the current programs (52:00).  In this segment, she summarizes the lack of success these programs have had in the past. For more information on why the rate of debt forgiveness is so low, AACTE recommends listening to NPR’s segment on why Public Service Loan Forgiveness rates are so low, and to read the Education Department’s 2020 report that details plans to improve the program.

For more information on the debt and grant programs mentioned in this webinar, please visit the following sites:


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