The New Mexico State Department of Higher Education announced this week that it is accepting applications for its 2022 Teacher Loan Repayment Program, which is designed to help pay off some of the student loan burden. federal funds that veteran teachers have hired to pay for their education.
Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said in an interview Thursday that this program, which started in 2001, has grown since 2019 by $3 million and that this year the fund available to applicants is growing. at $5 million.
Rodriguez said the program is for teachers who have taught in New Mexico schools for three years and plan to stay for another two years.
Students now attending college to become teachers are eligible for New Mexico Opportunity and Lottery scholarships, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in the news release.
Opportunity and lottery scholarships were not available when many veteran teachers went to college, the secretary said.
An opportunity scholarship complements the lottery scholarship, the statement said. “By supplementing the Lottery Scholarship with the Opportunity Scholarship, students will pay no tuition or fees at any of the state’s 29 public institutions of higher learning…”
“New Mexico Licensed Teachers Working in Needy Areas and Schools
the entire state may be eligible (through the Teacher Loan Repayment Program) for up to $6,000 per year for two years for principal debt and interest on federal student loans related to teacher training” , the statement said.
The secretary said 105 teachers applied for the loan repayment program in fiscal year 2021 and 604 applied in fiscal year 2022, including 100 the previous year.
New Mexico has one of the lowest tuition rates in the country, Rodriguez said. To help teachers, the state this year raised the salaries of its teachers at Tiers 1, 2, and 3 to $50,000, $60,000, and $70,000 per year. “(New Mexico) has one of the highest salaries (for teachers) in the region.”
“The Teacher Loan Repayment Program is a great initiative to help highly qualified teachers from all walks of life get in and stay where they want to be – in the classroom,” the Public Education Secretary said. , Kurt Steinhaus, in the press release. “Between increasing teacher salaries and teacher support programs like this, this administration is working to ensure that educators are compensated for the critical contributions they make every day in our state.”
“The award may be renewed for additional two-year cycles if the recipient continues to fulfill their teaching commitment,” as stated in the release. “Preference is also given to teachers with a New Mexico college or university degree and teachers from underrepresented backgrounds. Teachers with the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness program can concurrently benefit from the New Mexico program.
“Applications for the program must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, August 1 and can be completed electronically through the New Mexico Higher Education
Department’s website at hed.state.nm.us,” the statement read. “Interested teachers can also contact the agency by email at [email protected] or through a toll-free helpline at 1-800-279-9777.