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Debt Spending: Credit Union Offering Classroom-Supply Loans to Teachers

We know that school budgets are tight, but this seems ridiculous: A credit union in Las Vegas is now offering loans to K-12 teachers struggling to pay for classroom materials, according to a Mother Jones post.

The Silver State Schools Credit Union charges 1.99 percent APR for a $1,000 classroom-supply loan, on a 12-month term, according to the service's website. "If you're a K-12 teacher in the state of Nevada, you know that keeping the classroom supply cabinet fully-stocked can be costly," SSSCU advertises. "To help you purchase the materials you need beyond what the school's budget may provide, we've created a low-interest Classroom Supply Loan especially for you."

The loan reflects a trend in educator-spending habits. Teachers spent an average of $485 of their own money on supplies and materials for the 2012-13 academic year, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association. That's up more than $100 per teacher since 2010. That's up more than $100 per teacher since 2010.

Credit unions in other states, including California, Florida, and Texas, also offer programs to provide loans or rewards plans for educators and administrators. NerdWallet, a company that provides data-driven tools, compiled a list of teacher-loan programs. Most of these loans charge 0 percent APR and are mainly available to new and relocating teachers. Many are also specifically targeted to help with classroom-supply needs.

In an article published on Education Week Teacher last year, Seattle math specialist Cynthia Henton offered tips to avoid spending money for supplies out of pocket. She advised (among other steps) lobbying the local PTA, searching for supplies online, and soliciting donations.

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