New Loan Program Aims to Diversify Conn. Classrooms

Current and future teachers within alliance districts are eligible for a $25,000 loan.

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Education leaders announced a new loan program that will help diversify classrooms, while also addressing recruitment and retention issues across the board.

“It will help our 36 alliance districts to continue to grow their workforce,” said Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker.

For current alliance teachers, the Alliance District Teacher Loan Subsidy Program will help bring down already existing loan debt.

“When they refinance to a CHESLA alliance district teacher loan, their interest rate will be reduced by three percentage point subsidy compared to CHESLA standard finance rate. With this subsidy, teachers will have interest rates of 0.75% to 2.49% for long terms of five, 10 or 15 years,” said CHESLA Executive Director Jeanette Weldon.

Eligible participants can receive a maximum loan of $25,000.

Education leaders say this initiative will benefit the growing diverse student population, especially when students can see themselves within a teacher.

“Including impact on schools, resulting for better outcomes for students for all races and ethnicities, reduce dropout rates, improve college admissions and achievement gains,” Russell-Tucker said.

This comes on the backdrop of many districts facing teacher shortages across the nation.

“We were experiencing a decline in teacher retention before covid and the pandemic certainly intensified those issues that are driving educators out of the classroom,” said Kimberly Kostelis, provost and VP for academic affairs at Central Connecticut State University.

Education leaders are hopeful this program will help address that void.

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