New Mexico teacher debt forgiveness applications open until August 1

SANTA FE, N.M. — Now until August 1, the New Mexico Higher Education Department is accepting applications for a student loan forgiveness program for teachers.

The state’s Teacher Loan Repayment Program is offering up to $6,000 per year for two years. That will apply to principal debt and interest on federal student loans related to teacher education.

The award can also be renewed if the teacher continues fulfilling their teaching commitment.

Teachers licensed in New Mexico for at least three years are eligible. The program will also give priority to those working in “high-need fields,” including:

  • Bilingual education, early childhood education, special education, STEM, career technical education

It also applies to teachers at any low-performing school serving economically disadvantaged populations.

To qualify, you must also be a U.S. citizen, a New Mexico resident for 12 or more consecutive months and hold a New Mexico teaching license. The program will also prioritize teachers who graduate from a New Mexico college or university and teachers from underrepresented backgrounds.

Last year, the program received a record number of applications and broke the previous record. The department said the program supported more than 950 New Mexico teachers last year.

This year, the state approved $5 million for the Teacher Loan Repayment Program. They say the average amount of debt held by teachers participating in the program this year is over $50,000.

“As federal policy around student debt continues to be in flux, programs like New Mexico’s Teacher Loan Repayment Program are a critical lifeline for our educational professionals. We have been long-time supporters of any and all efforts to attract – and importantly retain – educators in our public schools,” said Whitney Holland, president of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico.

There is also $8 million available for the “Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship” to support current students. That applies to students pursuing degrees leading to teaching careers and now includes licensed teachers pursuing master’s degrees.