Rep. Clark Proposes Loan Forgiveness for Early Childhood Educators

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By Mark Kantrowitz

June 17, 2020

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced the Child Care is Infrastructure Act on June 16, 2020. 

This legislation reauthorizes the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant program, providing $200 million in funding to support students who are parents of young children.

The Child Care is Infrastructure Act creates a new student loan repayment assistance program for early childhood educators. This program will provide up to $6,000 a year for five years to early childhood educators who work for childcare providers who are eligible to receive Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding. 

See also: Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers

Eligible borrowers include borrowers who have federal direct student loans that were used to obtain an Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Borrowers must not be in default on their student loans and must agree to serve as an early childhood educator with an eligible employer for at least five years.

The legislation authorizes $25 million a year from FY2021 through FY2026 to fund the loan forgiveness program. 

The legislation also provides up to $3,000 a year to people who are pursuing a Childhood Development Associate (CDA) credential or an Associate’s degree. The grants will be awarded through colleges and universities that have early childhood educator programs. The grants may be used to pay for tuition, fees and coursework-related materials. The legislation authorizes $10 million a year in funding for the program from FY2021 to FY2026.

See also: What You Need to Know about the TEACH Grant

Grant recipients must agree to serve as an early childhood educator in a licensed early learning program within two years. The repayment obligation may be extended by one year if the grant recipient is unable to find employment in a licensed early learning program. Failure to complete the service requirements will cause the grants to be treated as an unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan that must be repaid. Interest will not accrue on these loans. Rep. Clark said that her goal is to revitalize the childcare industry and to honor its role as an essential part of America’s economic infrastructure.

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