The Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) expects to provide about 1,000 teachers a check for $1,000 in loan repayment by Dec. 31. The funding stems from a new program established by the Legislature that will provide $1 million this year and another $850,000 each of the next two fiscal years.

Young TeacherThe loan forgiveness program is among the strategies being employed in Minnesota to help address a growing teacher shortage, particularly in rural areas. MREA members identified loan forgiveness as a top priority in both 2015 and 2016.

The Office of Higher Education released the response to this first-year program to MREA today. The report showed that the Office of Higher Education accepted 2,752 eligible applications for loan repayment from Minnesota teachers in June.

Minnesota determined the eligible teacher shortage areas for the program based on the Teacher Supply and Demand Report from the Minnesota Department of Education. Learn more about the program.

First Year Recipients

OHE identified slightly more than 1,100 of these applications for further review, including 989 teachers in Greater Minnesota. Those applicants must submit additional documentation to OHE by the end of the month.

About 1,000 will be designated for loan repayment awards, but the final number has not been determined yet, according to Megan FitzGibbon, manager of State Scholarship Programs at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

OHE allocated equal loan repayment dollars for all 10 economic development regions with teacher shortage areas. OHE evaluates loan repayment eligibility based on teaching in a shortage subject or region with shortages, having an eligible loan, and the applicants income to loan repayment ratio.

Nearly 70 percent of the 1,420 teachers who applied in Greater Minnesota are currently under review to receive loan forgiveness this year. View a full summary of loan applications by Economic Development Region.

Another Opportunity

OHE will re-open an application window in April for fiscal year 2018.  Since there is no three-year service agreement required in the Minnesota program – only verification of current year teaching -the repayments are only for one year.

Teachers need to apply whether or not they received a loan repayment this year. Teachers who receive a loan repayment this year will receive priority for FY ’18.