Success story: Tricia Dieger
After a midcareer switch to teaching, grateful for help repaying loans.
During her 15 years in a retail career, Tricia found that she enjoyed working with high schoolers: explaining the job, sharing life lessons and helping guide students through their teen years. That experience motivated her to go back to school and become a teacher.
She landed in a job she loves, teaching Family and Consumer Sciences at Whiting Community School District. But she also found herself with a beginner’s paycheck and new student loan debt. “I had to attend college for 20 credits to receive an FCS endorsement, and then attend another two years for secondary education,” Tricia says. “The Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness award means that I can chip away at my college debt and be left with a more reasonable sum to pay on a beginning teacher’s salary.”
Tricia learned about the program when she was applying for financial aid at Morningside College, where she completed the Teacher Intern Program earlier this year. “I really enjoy the diverse subject matter of Family and Consumer Sciences,” she says. “It made a big difference to me to know that FCS was a shortage area and that there would be likely more of those positions available when I completed my program. It is an added bonus that this qualifies for forgiveness funds.”
Outside school, Tricia enjoys camping with her husband and two sons, as well as cooking and sewing. She’s grateful for the opportunity to be part of a smaller community. “I am able to teach in a smaller school because knowing that a large share of my student loan debt could be forgiven for a number of years offsets the difference between a large school salary and a smaller school salary,” she says.