The Rising Cost of Becoming an Educator: Reimagining Pathways Into the Profession With Affordable, Cost-Effective, and Responsive Solutions

Report cover

Educators are faced with increasing student loan debt, increasing costs of becoming a teacher, and stagnant teacher salaries. Research suggests that the structural elements of the student loan system, including systemic barriers, may act as deterrents, preventing access and opportunity, especially in the teaching profession.

The profession needs thoughtful, multifaceted, long-term solutions to address the rising costs of becoming an educator. Equitable and accessible pathways are required to attract, prepare, and retain high-quality educators. 

In this brief, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders examines the financial burdens facing the teaching profession. We offer potentially promising and sustainable solutions that require reimagining current programming to include cost-effective and responsive solutions, such as:

  • Grow Your Own programs;
  • Registered Teacher Apprenticeship programs;
  • Teacher residency programs; and
  • Federal funding streams (e.g., Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, Office of Special Education Program grants, Hawkins Program).

Each of these contemporary solutions could address inequities in the current organizational structures while meeting the need to diversify the educator workforce.