BISMARCK – North Dakota School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said North Dakota’s newly revamped student loan forgiveness program for teachers may offer up to four years’ worth of debt relief, which school districts may use to recruit or retain teachers.

Teachers who benefit from the program could have from $12,000 to $26,000 in student loan debt forgiven over four years, depending on their position and location, Baesler said.

The 2017 Legislature made major changes to the teacher loan forgiveness program. Applications now must come from school districts, rather than individual teachers. Teachers will no longer receive benefits under the state’s former program.

Districts may seek loan forgiveness for positions in areas where the Department of Public Instruction has determined that a teacher shortage or critical need exists. School districts may apply for debt relief for no more than two teaching jobs at any one time.

The critical need teaching positions that qualify for teacher student loan relief are science, business and office technology, agricultural