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Connecticut gives $7 million to teachers to help with student debt relief

Teachers in Connecticut could soon see some relief from their student loan debt. Education officials announced Tuesday that a new state-funded $7 million loan subsidy program is aimed at helping teachers refinance their loans.

It’s part of a program signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont in 2021 called the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) Alliance District Teacher Loan Subsidy Program.

Teachers in the state’s 36 alliance districts, which tend to be lower-performing, can now apply for the loan program. It offers these teachers a 3% interest rate subsidy to refinance existing private student loan debt. Teachers will continue to receive the subsidy as long as they keep teaching in an alliance district public school and maintain a current Connecticut Educator Certification.

Kate Dias, president of the Connecticut Education Association, said helping teachers get out of debt will make a huge difference for both teachers and schools.

“Anything we can do to provide recruitment and retention initiatives by reducing the burden of college loans, that’s a worthwhile endgame,” Dias said, “one that will help grow our teacher workforce while also supporting our efforts to attract and retain teachers who reflect the diversity of our K-12 students in Connecticut.”

State Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker said it’s important for students to see themselves in their teachers.

“A wide range of evidence supports the benefits of a diverse teacher workforce, including its impact on strengthening schools, resulting in better outcomes for students of all races and ethnicities, such as reduced dropout rates, improved college admissions and achievement gains,” she said.

Teachers in the state’s alliance districts are encouraged to apply here for the subsidized loan program.

Catherine Shen is a Connecticut Public’s education reporter. The Los Angeles native comes to CT Public after a decade of print and digital reporting across the country.

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