NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – More teachers are now receiving educational loan forgiveness with help from the state. The New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) said the funds are sourced from the Teacher Loan Repayment Program.

According to NMHED, 966 new applicants and 445 previous applicants are benefiting from the loan program.

The governor of New Mexico approved $5 million and $3 million in expansions to fund the efforts last year. Each year, the loan plan pays New Mexico teachers up to $6,000 in federal student loan relief.

“Not only is New Mexico helping more teachers than ever before benefit from student loan relief through the Teacher Loan Repayment Program, we are also keeping more money in teachers’ pockets thanks to much-deserved pay increases,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham, “[The year] 2022 was a record-breaking year for education, and in 2023, we will continue investing in effective programs that make a difference for New Mexico’s educators, families, and communities.”  

Over the years, the program has seen more and more applicants. The Fiscal Year 24 budget for the program recommends $10 million. Those funds would be able to help over a thousand teachers, NMHED said.

“Over the past two years, the New Mexico Higher Education Department has continued to break records with the number of teachers receiving debt forgiveness through our Teacher Loan Repayment Program, making it possible for these dedicated professionals to remain in the classroom and focus on doing what they do best – shaping New Mexico’s future,” said Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez, “Continuing to sustain effective programs like these is essential for strengthening New Mexico’s teacher workforce, and I am thankful to the educators and advocates who lend their support to expanding these resources.” 

This year, awardees came from 66 public school districts across the state alongside some teachers working at Tribal schools.

“The Teacher Loan Repayment Program is a critical tool for us to continue to make progress towards building an educator workforce that reflects the diversity of the students in our state. We are deeply committed to that reality and are grateful for the role this program plays in delivering on that promise,” said Public Education Secretary Dr. Kurt Steinhaus.

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NMHED said the average student debt of current applicants is around $50,800.

“The Teacher Loan Repayment Program is a huge financial benefit for me and my family. Teachers give a lot in the classroom, and this program is an important way to help teachers get out of debt and to increase the number of teachers in New Mexico,” said special education teacher Linsday Jordan.

Applications will be accepted again starting on June 1, 2023. Visit NMHED’s website for more information.