I'm doing a PGCE and have heard rumours that we're going to get our loans paid off. Is it true? How will I pay off my loan otherwise?

Yes, there are plans to pay off student loans for newly qualified teachers from 2002, but only for shortage subjects - and nothing has been finalised yet. Listen for announcements and check on I will tell you what I know, but the details may change.

The scheme will start for those qualifying as teachers in 2002. You will be eligible if you start teaching between September 2002 and August 2005 in a state school, city technology college, city academy or FE college in England or Wales and have qualified within the previous seven months. This is probably to stop people from travelling or doing supply for ages. Unlike the golden hellos, there seem to be no plans to restrict this deal to people with PGCEs, so I assume that those on the graduate teacher programme and BEd will qualify.

You will need to be employed to teach maths, science, ICT, modern foreign languages (including Welsh), design and technology or English in a school; or, if in an FE college, maths, science, ICT,engineering or construction. You will not be eligible if you work for a supply agency. You must have taken out one of two sorts of loan from the Student Loans Company while living in England or Wales. All your loans will be repaid if you carry on working in eligible jobs - for 10 years if you have an income-contingent loan, or around five years for mortgage-style loans.

Repayment of the former starts once your gross income reaches pound;10,000 at the rate of 9 per cent of what you earn over pound;10,000. Repayment of a mortgage-style loans starts when you reach 85 per cent of national average earnings (now pound;19,728) paid back over five years. For more details, see the Teachernet website (above), ring 0845 6000 991 or the Student Loans Company on 0870 2422 11.

E-mail questions to Sara Bubb cannot enter into personal correspondence. More questions at

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