Colorado Educator Loan Forgiveness

Program Update: Due to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Colorado state budget, the Colorado Educator Loan Forgiveness Program did not receive an appropriation from the Colorado General Assembly for the 2020-21 fiscal year, and thus will be inactive for the 2020-21 fiscal year. As such, the program is not able to accept any applications nor make any awards at this time. 

The Colorado Department of Higher Education will update this webpage if the program is reactivated. Thank you very much for your understanding during these very difficult circumstances. 

Prior Update for Budget Sequestration: The Colorado Educator Loan Forgiveness Program would like to provide an update on the status of the program. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our state budget, an executive order has now been released which stipulates that the Colorado Educator Loan Forgiveness Program is no longer authorized to award funding for the fiscal year 2019-20. This means that we will unfortunately not be able to present loan forgiveness awards to applicants for any of the 100 program positions for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

We ask for your understanding and patience as we adapt to this significant news and ongoing severe budgetary constraints. The Colorado General Assembly will reconvene in mid-May, and we expect to know more about the status of the program for next year by the end of May, when legislative deliberations have ended. Again, we sincerely appreciate your understanding and patience during this difficult time. We will update the program website with information regarding program operations for the upcoming fiscal year as soon as we are able to do so.

What is the Educator Loan Forgiveness Program?
In 2019, the Colorado Legislature passed Senate Bill 19-003 to address Colorado’s educator shortages. The law authorizes the Colorado Department of Higher Education to make payments, on behalf of participants, on qualified educational loans with priority to educators serving in rural and hard-to-fill positions in Colorado. Read the guidelines here.

Important Note:
Please read this memo for an update to the approved educator preparation programs for the Educator Loan Forgiveness Program.

How does the program work?
Program participants will be eligible for an annual payment of up to $5,000 towards their qualified loan balance. Program participants may be eligible for an annual payment for up to five years. The Colorado Department of Higher Education is authorized to accept up to 100 new program participants each year through 2028, subject to available appropriations. By law, CDHE will fund program participants according to the following priorities:

Qualified applicants serving in a rural school/district who are also serving in a content shortage area;
Qualified applicants serving in a rural school/district;
Qualified applicants serving in a content shortage area in a non-rural school.

For priorities A and B above, please check the approved list of rural districts for 2019-2020 and learn how the Colorado Department of Education determines rural district designation.

If more than 100 eligible applications are received, a random lottery draw will be used to determine program participants, with selections covering all regions of the state.
 

How do I qualify?
To qualify, you must be employed as a licensed teacher, principal, or Special Service Provider (SSP).

  • If you are a teacher or principal, you must have earned your educator preparation credential from an approved educator preparation program in Colorado.
  • Important Note: Please read this memo for an update to the approved educator preparation programs for the Educator Loan Forgiveness Program.
  • If you are an SSP, you must have completed an accredited program of study in the endorsement area where you are employed in a qualified position.
     

What is a qualified loan?
For principals, a qualified loan must have been incurred while enrolled in an approved educator preparation program in Colorado. For teachers, a qualified loan must have been incurred while enrolled in an approved educator preparation program in Colorado, or while completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the content area. For SSPs, a qualified loan must have been incurred while enrolled in an accredited program of study in the endorsement area for which licensure is held.

This includes loans made, insured, guaranteed under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.
Private education loans as defined in the Truth in Lending Act 15 U.S.C. 1650(a)(8):
a. means a loan provided by a private educational lender that—
i. is not made, insured, or guaranteed under of [1] title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et seq.); and
ii. is issued expressly for postsecondary educational expenses to a borrower, regardless of whether the loan is provided through the educational institution that the subject student attends or directly to the borrower from the private educational lender; and does not include an extension of credit under an open-end consumer credit plan, a reverse mortgage transaction, a residential mortgage transaction, or any other loan that is secured by real property or a dwelling.
Loans in default or garnishment are not eligible; however, a defaulted loan may become eligible if the default is resolved.
Parent plus loans are not eligible because the holder of the loan is someone other than the applicant.
 

How do I apply?
Step 1: If you believe you qualify, help determine your eligibility by completing an online form. A full application packet will be emailed to you if you qualify. Qualification does not guarantee an award.

Step 2: Complete the application and submit, with the required documentation, to the Colorado Department of Higher Education by February 21, 2020. All documents should be scanned and sent via email to EdLoanForgiveness@dhe.state.co.us

Step 3: If you are one of the 100 program participants for the 2019-20 fiscal year, you will be contacted by the Colorado Department of Higher Education to provide additional loan details and documentation. All qualified applicants will be notified of their program status on or before April 30, 2020.

When is my application due?
The deadline to receive applications for the program for the current fiscal year is February 21, 2020, at 5 p.m.

What if I have further questions and/or need help?
Please start by reading our frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you require further assistance, email the Educator Loan Forgiveness Program at EdLoanForgiveness@dhe.state.co.us.