NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Hundreds of teachers in New Mexico will have some of their student debt paid off by the state. The teacher loan repayment program, administered by the New Mexico Department of Higher Education, will pay up to $ 6,000 per year for two years to cover federal student loan debt and interest.

“Whether you’re a seasoned teacher still paying off debt or a recent high school graduate interested in a career in teaching in New Mexico, our teacher loan and scholarship programs are essential in helping New Mexicans. to enter the profession of education and to address shortages in our state, ”Higher Education Secretary Stephanie Rodriguez said in a press release. “We are working alongside Governor Lujan Grisham, our sister education agencies and lawmakers to ensure that these programs are supported at a level that reflects the workforce needs of New Mexico today while also supporting educators. ”

The ministry says applicants must be licensed and work in schools with high needs, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), vocational technical education, bilingual education, early childhood education, special education and in schools. with free and reduced meal programs. The ministry says it received 500 new applications for the program this year, three times more than last year.

The ministry says this year’s recipients represented 66 public school districts and that the average amount of debt held by teachers participating in the program this year is over $ 48,000.

For more information, visit hed.state.nm.us/free-college-nm.