Minnesota faces a growing teacher shortage in some specialized fields, making it difficult to prepare enough personnel to work in critical fields. To help address this challenge, legislation was heard last Friday to make it easier to find qualified people for these important positions.
The bill would establish a Teacher Loan Forgiveness program, to be created and administered by the commissioner of the Office of Higher Education (OHE). In order to participate in the loan forgiveness program, an applicant must complete an application, submit annual eligibility information as required by the commissioner, and complete a signed affidavit confirming the teacher is teaching in a shortage area.
A teacher qualifies for the grant program for no more than five consecutive years following graduation from an approved teacher program. The bill also requires the Commissioner of Education to annually designate teaching disciplines and subject matter areas which are experiencing shortages across the state. The bill establishes a repayment fund, specifies annual reporting requirements, and requires that the reports be submitted to the committees on higher education.
Several minor technical changes were made to the legislation in committee. The bill was amended, recommended to pass and re-referred to the Committee on Finance. (S.F. 759)