New Teachers Eligible For Loan Forgiveness And Stipends In This State

A newly passed law gives new Colorado teachers stipend funds and money to pay off part of their student loan debt, to attract new educators.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Biden Admin Discreetly Changes Student Loan Relief Act, Making Millions Of Borrowers Inelligable For Forgiveness

new Colorado teachers

It is proving to be quite hard to keep current teachers in the field. Reports of a teacher shortage crisis looming are everywhere. Because of this, it is no wonder why many states are not only looking for innovative ways to keep these educators from leaving their jobs, but also looking for new ways to attract more people to the field. In understanding this, one state is vehemently pushing to allure young college students to the profession, as new Colorado teachers will be given access to up to $22,000 in stipends, and some student loan forgiveness on top of it. 

The move comes as Democratic Governor Jared Polis signed a new bill into law last week. According to Chalkbeat, new Colorado teachers can apply for stipends. Similarly, the newly signed bill will give teachers who had started their careers anew at the onset of the pandemic an opportunity to have up to $5,000 taken off of their amount owed in student loans. 

The new proposal is called the Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation act. The new Colorado teacher initiative will allot $52 million from the state’s federal relief funds to an endeavor to attract new teachers into the classroom, along with enticing them to stay there. There was already an issue reported nationwide of fewer teachers joining the field before the pandemic hit, but those findings were greatly exacerbated afterward. A recent report from the Colorado Education department revealed just how serious that situation was in the Cenntenial State, where more than 13% of unfilled teaching positions remained empty last school year.

Knowing how important it is to draw in new Colorado teachers into education, state Rep. Cathy Kipp said that the reason many college students drop out of prep programs is because of the price to attain accreditation. With the stipends, these students will now be able to attain government money to pay for test fees and needed licenses to teach. The predominant hope is that college students who are truly passionate about becoming teachers will stick through these programs, and not be lured away because of not being able to afford them.

Additionally, $10 million from the allotted funds under the new Colorado teacher act will be set aside to cover some loan forgiveness for current teachers. Nearly 2,000 teachers who joined the teaching profession in the state during the 2019-2020 school year, or since then, will have the opportunity to apply for partial student loan forgiveness. Special priority will be given to educators who teach in high-poverty districts, or in special areas like math and special education. The move, however, will likely be met with contention and confusion, as it is questionable why the state is only supporting loan forgiveness for teachers that started in the last three years. 

new Colorado teachers

Many citizens who feel that the state of public education is failing see the act of funneling more taxpayer dollars into public schools as the wrong move. However, this new Colorado teacher endeavor is being funded from federal relief funds, which were given to states to use or lose either way.  The question now, is how long the state intends to keep this program running, as eventually, they will either have to filter state tax dollars into the program or do away with it once relief funds dry up.