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Connecticut tries student loan subsidies to recruit and retain teachers of color

Office of Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont

Connecticut is trying a new approach to the regional issue of attracting and retaining teachers of color. It's offering a new student loan assistance program for educators from diverse backgrounds to teach in the state’s 36 poorest urban and rural school districts.

The subsidy through the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority would lower outstanding private student loans.

It’s a meaningful reward to attract teachers of color, said Governor Ned Lamont.

“This program would save you another three percentage points. That would save eventually over a hundred dollars a month. And what a difference that can make.” said Lamont.

"It would help the districts be more competitive with wealthier districts," said Kate Diaz, president of the Connecticut Education Association. “To draw people in and say 'no, no, no we have things for you here that will support you as a profession.'"

“Keeping them exactly where they should be, which is in front of our beautiful students, enriching our curriculums, enriching our communities. We need these types of investments to continue and to expand,” she said.

The interest rate reduction would cover up to $25,000 in outstanding private student loans. The state has a $7 million fund for the program.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.