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According to an announcement released Wednesday, teachers with outstanding student debt may be eligible for $ 6,000 per year under the Teacher Loan Repayment Program administered by the New Mexico Department of Higher Education.
“In recent years, various government scholarship and financial aid programs have become available to educators, but there are also those who started in the profession before these opportunities were available,” said Minister of Higher Education Stephanie Rodriguez. “Through the Teacher Loan Repayment Program, these teachers’ debt can be reduced or even eliminated, allowing more teachers to continue their education in the most sought after areas across the state.”
More than 300 faculty members are already receiving support a year, and the New Mexico Department of Higher Education is accepting new applications and renewals for the next year. The application closes on August 1 at 17:00.
“This administration has done so much to improve the teacher ecosystem and give class teachers the respect and support they deserve. This loan repayment program is another way we encourage the best and brightest teachers to work in the areas most in demand while paying off student loans at the same time. This program is a win-win for all of New Mexico, ”said Education Secretary Ryan Stewart.
Recipients must agree to a two-year study commitment and can receive up to $ 6,000 per year to pay off existing student loan debt, including interest and principal. The award may be renewed for additional two-year cycles if the recipient continues to meet the training commitment. Preference is given to teachers who graduated from New Mexico college or university and minority teachers.
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Eligible teachers must be US citizens, have resided in New Mexico for 12 consecutive months or more, be licensed to teach in New Mexico, and have taught for at least three years in New Mexico. They must teach in such sought-after positions as bilingual education; preschool education; special education; science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM); or vocational education (CTE). They are also eligible to attend a low-performing school serving low-income populations (40% or more of students receive a free lunch or lunch at a reduced price).
“New Mexico’s efforts to reward new teachers and support experienced teachers through loan repayment programs is one of many successful initiatives in recent years to attract and retain highly qualified teachers in our classrooms and across all areas of public education. We have long supported this initiative and look forward to deepening our partnership with the New Mexico Department of Higher Education to not only continue to promote these important efforts, but also to introduce new programs that will help fully staff our classrooms and learning environments at all levels. said Whitney Holland, president of the American Federation of New Mexico Teachers.
Heather Nevarez is a New Mexico State University alumnus and a 25-year seasoned teacher teaching mathematics in the sixth grade of Las Cruces public schools and benefits from this program.
“My loans were taken before 1998, when many scholarship and forgiveness programs were put in place, so all these years I have been paying on them. When the opportunity presented itself, it really helped me, and now I can retire with no student loan arrears, ”Nevarez said.
Mandi Vasquez is a National Certified Bilingual Education Teacher who teaches in the 1st grade of Wado Elementary School. She started using the program last year. She received her BA and MA in Education from New Mexico State University.
“I got my bachelor’s degree before getting the lottery scholarship, and I was not eligible for federal grants, so I had to pay for most of my tuition with student loans. It was great to see how much my balance fell. Otherwise, it would have taken me years to settle, ”said Vasquez.
The New Mexico Department of Higher Education also oversees other programs to provide financial assistance to current and emerging teachers. These include affordable teacher scholarships and teacher training, and a teacher loan program.
More information is available on the higher education website. hed.state.nm.us…