North Dakota Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics (STEM) Occupations Student Loan Program

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To Be Eligible …

To qualify for the STEM Occupations Student Loan Program, an applicant must have: 

  • Graduated from a board-approved college;
  • Successfully completed a board-approved STEM-related program of study;
  • Maintained a cumulative 2.5-grade point average (GPA) or higher, based on a 4.0 grading system, at a board-approved college;
  • A qualifying student loan and not be in default on that loan;
  • Been employed fulltime in North Dakota in a board-approved STEM occupation for twelve months following graduation beginning at least by July first of the previous year. Qualifying teachers must hold a full-time teaching contract of at least nine months in a Department of Public Instruction approved public or private primary or secondary school in North Dakota. The eligible employee must have occurred within the past twenty-four months. 
  • An annual salary or equivalent hourly wage of $60,000 or less.

Section 2 – Terms and Definitions

  • Application period means the first day applications are accepted each year, which is no earlier than May first, and continuing through the last date noted on the application.
  • Board-approved college means a postsecondary institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and accredited by regional, national, professional or specialized accrediting bodies
  • Board-approved STEM-related program of study means programs of study that qualify for the STEM Occupations Student Loan Program. STEM classification involves cross-referencing the national STEM databases. A program within the STEM CIP family code must be offered at an institution within North Dakota to be considered. STEM degrees not listed on the current year’s application will not be eligible for consideration until the next application cycle.
  • Applicants who have received funding under this program for a CIP code that has been removed in subsequent years will be grandfathered only if the applicant was funded in the most recently completed application period. Applicants graduating from comparable programs, based on CIP code, in other states are eligible when all other program requirements are met.
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) means grade point average from all grades achieved by a student at graduation using a 4.0 grading scale. GPA scores will not be rounded up.
  • Default means default as defined in applicable federal student aid laws or regulations or other applicable regulations, as determined by the loan holder.
  • STEM-related CIP Code means the Classification of Instructional Programs of degree codes.
  • STEM-related SOC Code means the Department of Labor Standard Occupational Classification system used to classify workers of occupational categories.
  • Student Loan means Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) subsidized, unsubsidized, or consolidated loans, Dakota Education Alternative Loan (DEAL) obtained through the Bank of North Dakota, William D. Ford Federal Direct subsidized, unsubsidized, or consolidated loans, and Federal Perkins Loans.

Section 3 – STEM Occupations Student Loan Program Procedures

  • Applications will be accepted for the current application period as indicated on the application, but no earlier than May first of each year. A completed application must be received in the North Dakota University System office no later than midnight of the final day of the application period. 
  • If not previously funded under the program, a copy of the final college transcript showing the date of graduation, cumulative GPA and the degree earned is required. An unofficial transcript is acceptable. Additionally, a certification of employment and salary by the personnel director, CEO or other company officials who is authorized to certify employment for the applicant is required.
  • An application will not be considered complete until all of the required information has been received by the NDUS. The date the application is complete will be used for eligibility and funding consideration.
  • Applicants qualifying under the STEM Occupations Student Loan Program may not qualify for loan forgiveness under any other state provision in the same application year.
  • All completed applications received by the last day of the application period each year will be considered for funding. If funding is not sufficient to fund all eligible applicants, a funding priority may be applied: 
    1. First priority will be given to applicants who were previously funded under the program and who have continuing eligibility. 
    2. Second priority will be given to applicants who have not been previously funded under the program but who meet the qualifications.
    3. Funding shall be allocated based on the date of receipt by the NDUS on completed applications.


  • Funded recipients are eligible for up to $1,500 per year in student loan forgiveness for each year they are employed in North Dakota in an approved occupation. Benefits are capped at $6,000. 

Loans That Qualify

  • Stafford loans
  • Grad PLUS loans
  • Consolidation loans
  • Perkins loans
  • Loans from the Bank of North Dakota

Next Steps

You can find details to apply here

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