Minnesota invested funding in new state program to provide student loan repayment assistance to teachers working in a shortage area. The application deadline for this year is June 30.
The Minnesota Teacher Shortage Student Loan Repayment Program, established through legislation in 2015, aims to attract teachers to teach in Minnesota in designated shortage areas. Shortage areas include teacher licensure fields in high demand statewide, geographical regions within the state experiencing teacher shortages and teacher licensure fields in high demand within regions of the state. View the list of qualifying shortage areas.
“MREA members around the state have asked us to advocate for loan forgiveness for the past two years,” MREA Lobbyist Joe Gould said. “Last year we got the program created with a half million dollars in funding and although more funding is still needed for the program to be on solid financial footing, the legislature did appropriate another $2 million this year. Loan forgiveness is also a great way to address the high cost of tuition in recent years for college graduates.”
Teachers holding a teaching license that teach in a designated shortage area and have student loan debt may apply. Since the funding is limited, awarded applicants are prioritized by debt amount, income, and severity of teacher shortage in the area. Annual awards are up to $1,000 in loan repayment assistance paid directly to selected applicants. Awardees are limited to $5,000 in total repayment assistance.
The Office of Higher Ed estimates that 194 awards will be made for the 2016 award year, with as many as 1,940 annual awards made through 2019. The application deadline for the 2016 award year is June 30, 2016 so make sure to apply soon. Apply online.