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Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Loan Assistance Program

Eligibility
Eligibility for an award is limited to a teacher who has earned a teaching degree and is certified to teach in West Virginia. Priority shall be given to new teachers and teachers who have previously received a loan assistance award that shall agree to teach or shall currently be teaching: a subject area of critical need in a state public school, a teacher that shall agree to teach or shall currently be teaching in a geographic area of the state identified as an area of critical need, or to a certified teacher in a subject area of critical need who is enrolled in an advanced in-field degree course or who has earned an advanced in-field degree who may use the award toward current federal student loans. A list of subject areas of critical need and the geographic areas of the state in critical need will be posted annually.

Awards
Before receiving an award, each eligible teacher shall enter into an agreement to teach full-time in a public school in West Virginia in a subject area or geographic area of critical need under contract with a county board for a period of two school years for each year for which loan assistance is received. A partial award may be granted to an eligible recipient whose contract term is for less than a full school year. A partial award is calculated by prorating the full award amount based upon the number of days taught in the school's calendar year. Each award recipient is eligible to receive loan assistance of up to $3,000 annually. Awards will be paid to the recipient's educational loan institution, not directly to the recipient, only after it is determined that the recipient has complied with all the terms of the agreement. Award amounts shall not exceed the recipient's outstanding loan balance. Loans eligible for loan repayment assistance are federal student loans in the recipient's name that were used for educational costs associated with obtaining a degree in teaching or a teaching credential. Parent PLUS Loans are not eligible for loan repayment assistance. Loan repayment assistance shall not reimburse applicants for payments to loans already made. Federal teacher loan forgiveness programs shall be considered when awards are calculated.

Payments
Recipients shall annually submit proof of fulfillment of the terms of the loan assistance agreement to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission in accordance with the loan assistance agreement. Half of the annual award will be paid after fulfilling the first year of the agreement; the second half of the annual award will be paid after fulfilling the second year of the agreement. Recipients may have their award terminated or may be required to repay all or part of an award according to the terms of the agreement if the recipient does not comply with the terms of the agreement.

Renewal
The recipient is eligible for renewal of loan assistance only during the periods when the recipient is under contract with a county board to teach in a subject area of critical need in a school or geographic area of critical need. An applicant must have completed the terms of previous loan assistance awards before being renewed. No recipient may receive loan assistance in excess of $15,000.

Forms

Geographical High Need Areas and Teaching Fields PDF icon

 

Program Contact Information

Financial Aid Program Staff
1018 Kanawha Blvd. East, Suite 700
Charleston, WV 25301
(304) 558-4618 or 1 (877) 987-7664