The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) annually designates teacher shortage areas for the purposes of deferment of loan repayments or reductions of teaching obligation. The Maine Department of Education (DOE) recently requested input regarding designated teacher shortage areas for federal reporting and would like to thank all those who submitted information during the comment period. The comments related to teacher shortage enabled the DOE to add additional teaching endorsements to the USDOE proposal. The following are PreK-12 teacher shortage areas for the 2023-2024 school year:
- General Elementary
- Early Childhood
- English for Speakers of Other Languages
- English/Language Arts (Middle and Secondary Level)
- Mathematics (Middle and Secondary Level)
- Science-Physical (Secondary Level)
- Science-Life (Secondary Level)
- Science (Middle Level)
- Physical Education
- World Languages
- Visual Arts
- Teacher of Students with Disabilities (See note below.)
In Maine, the annual teacher shortage list is utilized by the DOE to determine which endorsements are eligible for an emergency certificate. It should be noted, however, that on October 4, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released a memorandum to clarify the requirements of IDEA Part B, which outlines the expectations for the preparation and training of all special education teachers nationwide. Noted in the memo, special education certification or licensure requirements may not be waived.
For federal purposes, the benefits to student financial aid recipients, such as loan cancellations, are indicated in the following regulatory provisions:
- 34 CFR 682.210(b)(5)(ii), (b)(7), (q), and (s) enable a borrower who had no outstanding Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan on July 1, 1987, but who had an outstanding FFEL Program loan on July 1, 1993, to qualify for deferment of loan repayment under the Stafford Loan Program anytime within the life of the borrower’s loan(s) for up to three years of service as a full-time teacher in a private elementary or secondary school in a teacher shortage area designated by the Department, and as certified by the chief administrative officer of the particular school in which the borrower is teaching;
- 34 CFR 674.53(c) enables Federal Perkins Loan borrowers who are full-time teachers of mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, or any other field of expertise where the State educational agency determined there is a shortage of qualified teachers to qualify for cancellation of up to 100 percent of the outstanding balance on the borrower’s Federal Perkins loans; and
- 34 CFR 686.12(d) enables grant recipients to fulfill their teaching obligation under the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program (regarding the requirement to serve at least four academic years, within eight years of graduation) by teaching in a “high-need field,” which includes academic disciplines/subject areas identified as teacher shortage areas at the time the grant recipient begins teaching in that field.
Stafford Loan and Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS) borrowers who have questions concerning their loans, including the teacher shortage area deferment, can contact the Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4FED-AID.
Federal Perkins Loan borrowers should contact the school where they received the loan.
For questions related to the 2023-2024 shortage areas, please contact Michael Perry, Acting Director, Office of Higher Education and Educator Support Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.