New Mexico offers $5 million in teacher loan forgiveness

Anne Maclachlan


SANTA FE – The New Mexico Higher Education Department is encouraging teachers with outstanding student loans to apply for debt forgiveness through the state’s Teacher Loan Repayment Program, which is accepting applications from June 1 until August 1.  

New Mexico licensed teachers working in high-need fields and schools statewide may be eligible for up to $6,000 per year for two years toward principal debt and interest on federal student loans related to teacher education.  

Last year, the program received a record number of applications last year for the second consecutive year supporting over 1,000 New Mexico teachers. This year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham approved $5 million to continue funding the program.

“The Teacher Loan Repayment Program is an essential tool for supporting our hardworking educators, who have chosen a career dedicated to supporting the students of New Mexico, and we encourage teachers to consider applying for this amazing opportunity,” said Higher Education Secretary Stephanie M. Rodriguez. “We know that recruiting and retaining teachers is vital to the intellectual and economic strength of our state, and we thank Gov. Lujan Grisham for her continued commitment to assisting educators.”

“Recruitment and retention of strong educators in the state is a top priority of the Public Education Department and this program helps us do just that. We are so grateful for the support in attracting great talent to education, it continues to set New Mexico apart in our support for educators,” said Public Education Secretary Dr. Arsenio Romero.

In 2024, Gov. Lujan Grisham approved $5 million for the Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship, which supports students pursuing degrees leading to teaching careers. Last year, the program was expanded to include licensed teachers pursuing master’s degrees. The legislative change now allows for any teacher who earned their degree before these programs were available, or who pursued advanced degrees funded by federal student loans, to benefit. The average amount of debt held by teachers participating in the program this year is $48,150.

"New Mexico's Teacher Loan Repayment Program is a shining example of a program bringing tangible relief to New Mexico educators. A key component of attracting and recruiting educators, we know this program has helped thousands of educators enter, and importantly stay in the classroom. We thank Gov. Lujan Grisham and Secretary Rodriguez for their continued support of this critical program," said American Federation of Teachers New Mexico President Whitney Holland


"Thanks to the Teacher Loan Repayment Program, hundreds more New Mexico teachers will experience relief from the financial burden of student loans again this year," National Education Association New Mexico President Mary Parr-Sánchez said. "NEA New Mexico deeply appreciates the commitment of Gov. Lujan Grisham, the New Mexico Higher Education Department, and policymakers to ensuring that educators can focus on their most important job – teaching students."   

The award can be renewed for additional two-year cycles if the recipient continues to fulfill the teaching commitment. Preference is also given to teachers who graduated from a New Mexico college or university and those from underrepresented backgrounds. Teachers benefitting from the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program can simultaneously benefit from New Mexico’s program.  

Eligible teachers must be U.S. citizens, New Mexico residents for 12 or more consecutive months, hold a New Mexico teaching license, and have taught at least three years in New Mexico. Priority is given to teachers in a high-need position, including those with endorsements and actively teaching in the following areas:  

  • Bilingual education.  
  • Early childhood education.  
  • Special education.  
  • Science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).  
  • Career technical education (CTE).  
  • Teaching in a low-performing school serving economically disadvantaged populations (40% or more of students receiving free and reduced lunch).   

Program applications are due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 1, 2024, and can be completed electronically via the New Mexico Higher Education Department’s website. Teachers who are interested in applying to the program can also contact the agency via email at or through the Financial Aid Hotline at 1-800-279-9777.