Alternative Route to Certification Scholarship Information


What is a Conditional Scholarship Loan? 

A conditional scholarship is a loan that will be forgiven in whole or in part in exchange for qualified service as a certificated teacher employed in a Washington state K-12 public school. The state will forgive one year of loan obligation for every two years a loan recipient teaches in a Washington state public school. The loan amount for the Alternative Route program is currently $8,000 per year.
How do I apply for a Conditional Loan Scholarship? Once you have been admitted to an Alternative Route Program, the College or University Coordinator will provide you with instructions on how to submit your application. PESB will also require verification from the institution that you are fully admitted as an Alternative Route candidate.

Who administers the Conditional Scholarship Loan? 

The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) approves the scholarship for Alternative Route programs and the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) administers the conditional scholarship loan program. WSAC is responsible for issuing checks to interns and for assigning loan forgiveness in exchange for teaching service.

What types of teaching service do I need to do for the loan to be forgiven?

The conditional scholarship is a loan that can be forgiven in exchange for teaching service in a designated shortage area or for teaching in a secondary content area in a Washington State public school. You must complete two full time years (totaling 360 days, 180 days per school year) of qualified teaching service to completely satisfy your program obligation. When earning loan forgiveness, 2 half-days of teaching earn 1 day of forgiveness. 

What type of teaching position is considered qualified teaching service? 

Teaching assignments in the endorsement area you earned through the Alternative Route program are considered qualified teaching service. For Route 1 or dual-endorsed candidates in K-8 Special Education, Math, Science or English Language Learner (ELL), the teaching service must be in a Special Education, Math, Science or ELL assignment. Teaching in a mainstream K-8 self contained classroom does not qualify for teaching service. Secondary content area means teaching in the endorsement area earned through the Alternative Routes program that requires a specific mid-level or secondary content area endorsement.

How is the teaching service verified for repayment purposes? 

When you obtain a teaching position, you must provide Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) with a copy of your teaching contract. At the end of each school year, WSAC will send you a Teaching Service Confirmation form. You are responsible for obtaining verification from your district or school of the number of days you taught during the academic year and returning the form to WSAC. WSAC then evaluates your teaching service to determine the amount of loan forgiveness to apply to your account.

What if I get a part-time teaching job in a K-12 public school? 

Loan forgiveness will be prorated for less than full-time teaching.

What if I get a substitute teaching job?

You must provide Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) with a copy of your substitute teaching contract or a letter from one school district confirming you are on their active substitute list for that school year. You must substitute for a minimum of forty (40) days during the school year to qualify for loan forgiveness. After forty (40) days of substitute teaching in the endorsement area you earned through the Alternative Routes program, your teaching service will be prorated to reflect the number of days that you taught.

If you substitute for less than forty (40) days, you will not qualify for any loan forgiveness in that year. If you substitute in multiple districts, the teaching days from all districts are added together to reach the forty (40) day minimum.

Does the WSAC have grace period allowances? 

A six-month grace period, which is a special type of deferment, begins the first of the month after completion of the residency teacher certification program or the first of the month after continuous enrollment ends. During the six month grace period, no interest accrues and no payments are required.

What happens if I go into repayment?

If you have not obtained a qualified teaching position (for program purposes), and have not accrued a minimum of forty (40) days of substitute teaching after finishing your preparation program, and have reached the end of your six-month grace period, you can apply for up to three additional six-month deferments. Additional deferments are decided on a case-by-case basis by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC).

If you have exhausted all deferments available to you, your account will go into repayment status. You must make monthly payments on your balance, through WSAC’s billing agency. While in repayment status, your monthly payment amount may be adjusted every year on July 1. You are responsible for making payments on time even if you do not receive a repayment invoice or notice. The repayment period may not exceed ten years.

If you go into repayment status, is interest charged?

Yes. The interest rate is variable and is adjusted every year on July 1. It generally parallels the rate for new loans in the primary federal undergraduate student loan program. The federal interest rate for July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012 is 6.8 %.

Other questions?

If you have questions about your Conditional Scholarship Loan contact: Nicole Witty
Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC)
Toll Free: 1-888-535-0747 (option 6).