Denise Juneau, Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, sent out a press release today announcing that her office is accepting applications for the 2010 “Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program.”

The program, now in its third year, is open to K-12 educators.

“It was authorized by the 2007 Legislature, and provides for the direct repayment of student loans to eligible teachers in Montana,” the press release explains. “A teacher may qualify for loan repayment assistance of up to $3,000 per year for up to four years—a total of up to $12,000.”

“Great leaders were inspired in the classroom by extraordinary teachers. Montana has some of the best teachers in the nation,” Juneau says in the release. “It is important that we do what we can to keep them here in Montana so they can inspire our young leaders and help build a brighter future.

“Across the state, educators are helping students experience success,” said Juneau. “This program helps us recruit the right people for the right places and helps teachers pursue long-term careers in these fields without becoming burdened by student loan repayment.”

Here are the qualifications for teachers as listed on the announcement:

- Have a current student loan balance and be in good standing with repayment of the loan.

- Be teaching full-time in a public school, state-funded school, special education cooperative, or in the Montana Youth Challenge Program.

- Be teaching at an “impacted” school. An impacted school is rural, and/or has a high percentage of disadvantaged students, and/or has greater challenges in closing the achievement gap. A list of the impacted schools is available here.

- Have at least one staff assignment recorded in the 2009-2010 OPI Annual Data Collection in a shortage area at an impacted school. The shortage areas are Career and Technical Education, Music, Special Education, Mathematics, Speech/Language Pathologist, Science, World Languages, School Counselor, Library Media, and Art.

- Have an active Montana educator license with a corresponding endorsement in the shortage area or have a professional license in the shortage area.

- Complete an application and submit it to by April 1, 2010. Depending on the volume of applications and the availability of funds, some applicants may be turned down for student loan forgiveness.

Call 800-537-7508 for more info, or pass this number along to a teacher you know.

- MM

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