MEA-MFT created this program back in the 2007 legislative session. It has already assisted hundreds of qualifying Montana public school teachers.
Check it out. You may qualify. The program has recently expanded to include elementary teachers in 89 schools in rural, high-poverty areas.
Montana teachers in hard-to-fill positions eligible for Student Loan Repayment Program
Newly eligible: Elementary teachers in 89 schools in rural, high-poverty areas
Deadline for applications: April 30, 2013
Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau announced that applications for student loan repayment assistance for teachers in critical shortage areas are now available. The eight education fields facing critical teacher shortages in Montana are determined by the Office of Public Instruction annually. This year, Superintendent Juneau and the Board of Public Education have expanded eligibility to include elementary teachers in 89 rural, high-poverty schools and special education cooperatives.
“It is important that we do what we can to keep good teachers in our rural schools, especially in areas like career and technical education and special education, which are difficult to fill,” said Superintendent Juneau. “This program allows our rural communities to attract and retain quality teachers, which is critical to the continued success of our students.”
Teachers are eligible for student loan repayment assistance of up to $3,000 a year for the next four years – for a total of up to $12,000. Last year, 166 teachers were awarded $494,890 in student loan repayment assistance. This is the sixth year of the program.
To qualify for loan assistance an educator must be:
• Teaching in an impacted academic area and in an impacted school.
• Impacted academic areas include: special education, career and technical education, music, mathematics, English, science, school counselor, speech-language pathologist, library, and art, respectively. Impacted schools tend to be rural and isolated, have a higher percentage of economically disadvantaged students, and/or have greater challenges in closing the achievement gap.
• A full-time educator holding a valid educator license with an endorsement in an impacted subject area or a licensed professional providing services to students in a school district, an education cooperative, the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind, the Montana Youth Challenge Program or a state youth correctional facility.
• Additionally, elementary teachers in 89 identified rural, high-poverty elementary and middle schools are eligible.
The Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program is administered by the Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program, a division of the Commissioner’s Office of Higher Education.
Questions regarding the program and application process may be directed to Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program at 800-537-7508. For the application, go to: www.mgslp.org. Completed applications must be submitted by April 30, 2013.
To view the Critical Quality Educator Shortage report, go to: http://www.opi.mt.gov/PDF/cert/CrShortageMarch2013.pdf