Senate committee hears the Increase Teachers of Color Act (ITCA)

The Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee heard a bill this week referred to as the 2021 Increase Teachers of Color Act. The legislation is designed to strengthen the Increase Teachers of Color Act in higher education. Provisions include a new scholarship program for future teachers of color and modifications to existing statute providing opportunities for student loan forgiveness.

This bill would create the Aspiring Minnesota Teachers of Color Scholarship Program, which would provide assistance to undergraduate and graduate students preparing to become teachers with demonstrated financial need who belong to racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in the state’s teacher workforce. Scholarship recipients would receive up to $10,000 per year for full-time study. The bill would appropriate over $10 million in 2022 and over $16,000,000 in 2023 to fund the proposed scholarship program. The bill also modifies the existing Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program to include allowing teachers receiving loan forgiveness to receive partial forgiveness for 10 years, as opposed to the 5 years allowed under current statute.

The legislation has received support from a broad range of stakeholders in higher education and education policy. The Senate Higher Education heard testimony on the bill and laid it over for possible inclusion in an omnibus budget bill. The House companion to the legislation has been introduced and referred to the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee but does not yet have a hearing scheduled at this time. (SF 797)