North Dakota Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program

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To Be Eligible …

Designed to help recruit and retain qualified teachers, this program will reduce loan indebtedness for individuals teaching in North Dakota at grade levels, content areas, and geographical locations identified by the Superintendent of Public Instruction as having a teacher shortage or critical need.

Recipients are eligible to receive loan forgiveness up to the maximum award set in N.D.C.C. § 15-10-38 as follows:

Shortage Area and District Type Annual Award Amount Lifetime Maximum
If the individual accepts one of five positions of critical need in a non-rural school district or non-remote town school district. Up to $3,000 per year. Four years
If the individual accepts a position in a defined shortage area in a rural school district or remote town school district with enrollment less than one thousand students per year. Up to $4,500 per year Four years
If the individual accepts one of up to five positions of critical need in a rural district or remote town school district with enrollment less than one thousand students. Up to $6,500 per year Four years


No more than two teachers per year in a school district may receive loan forgiveness under this program. Recipients are eligible for up to a maximum of four years of loan forgiveness. If other eligibility criteria are met, recipients may continue receiving reimbursement, even if the original content area is not on the current year’s shortage area list.

The North Dakota University System will distribute the loan forgiveness payments to financial institutions holding student loans for funded recipients upon notification that the individual has completed a full year of teaching under one of the defined teacher shortage or critical need areas.

Section 1 – Qualifications


To qualify for consideration for the Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program, a recipient:

  1. Must have graduated from an accredited teacher preparation program and signed a contract to teach at a grade level or in a content area in a geographical location with an identified teacher shortage or critical need during each year loan forgiveness is received; 
  2. Must have taught a full year under the qualifying contract;
  3. Must hold a balance on a qualifying student loan at the time of payment, and not be in default on that loan; and
  4. May not be receiving loan forgiveness under any other state provision during the application year.


Section 2 – Terms and Definitions

  1. Application period means the first day district applications are accepted each year and continuing through the last date noted on the application for priority consideration. 
  2. Default has the same meaning as defined in applicable federal student aid laws or regulations, or other applicable regulations, as determined by the loan holder. 
  3. Non-rural school district or non-remote town school district has the same meaning as defined under the national center for education statistics locale codes and also includes rural and/or remote school districts with one thousand or more students. 
  4. Renewed recipient is any recipient who has continuing eligibility under the program in subsequent application years, up to a maximum of four years. A renewed recipient qualifies as one of two maximum awards that a district may receive per year. 
  5. Rural school district or remote town school district has the same meaning as defined under the national center for education statistics locale codes. 
  6. Student loan means Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Stafford subsidized, unsubsidized, and consolidated loans, Dakota Education Alternative Loan (DEAL) obtained through the Bank of North Dakota, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan subsidized, unsubsidized loans, and consolidated loans, or Federal Perkins Loan. 
  7. Teacher shortage areas mean those grade levels, content areas, and geographical locations identified by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Section 3 – Application Procedures

  1. Applications will be accepted annually from qualifying North Dakota school districts. Only new vacancies within qualifying teaching shortage or critical need areas will be considered.
  2. District applications for this program may be obtained by accessing the NDUS website at www.ndus.edu. Applications will be accepted for the current application period as indicated on the application. Applications must be received in the North Dakota University System office no later than midnight of the final day of the application period for priority consideration. Applications or application changes received after this date will only be considered if funding is available. 
  3. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall consider all applications based on the number of unfilled school vacancies, prioritized by critical need and geographic location. 

    Priority will be given to renewed recipients who still have loan forgiveness eligibility, then to new applications in the following order:

    1. Rural/remote critical need areas prioritized by highest critical need.
    2. Rural/remote shortage areas prioritized by highest need.
    3. Nonrural/nonremote critical need areas prioritized by highest critical need.

    The number of approved applications and/or award amounts may be reduced if funding is not sufficient. 

  4. Upon notification that the recipient has completed a full year of teaching in a school district, state-supported school, or nonpublic school in this state at a grade level or in a content area and in a geographical location identified by the Superintendent of Public Instruction as one in which a teacher shortage or critical need exists, the NDUS will distribute funds directly to the lending institution of the individual to repay outstanding student loan balances. The Superintendent of Public Instruction will verify recipient eligibility requirements prior to notifying the NDUS.

Loans That Qualify

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

Next Steps

You can find the application for this program here.

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