Teachers in Hard-to-Fill Positions Eligible for Student Loan Repayment Program


Wednesday, February 1, 2012
By Allyson Hagen
406-444-3160

Montana Teachers in Hard-to-Fill Positions Eligible for Student Loan Repayment Program

(Helena, MT) Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau announced applications for student loan repayment assistance for teachers in critical shortage areas are available starting today. The eight education fields facing critical teacher shortages in Montana are determined by the Office of Public Instruction annually.

"It is important that we do what we can in this economy 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. "Identifying these shortage areas helps us recruit the right people for the right places."

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, 141 teachers were awarded $417,000 in student loan repayment assistance. This is the fifth year of the program.

To qualify for loan assistance an educator must be:

  • Teaching in an impacted academic area. These areas are: special education, career and technical education, mathematics, music, science, speech-language pathologist, school counselor and world languages, respectively.
     
  • Teaching in an impacted school. These 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 list of qualifying schools is available at: http://www.opi.mt.gov/PDF/cert/CrShortageNov2011.pdf
     
  • 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.

"This program allows our rural communities to attract and retain quality teachers, which is critical to the continued success of our students," explained Juneau.

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.   

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