This is a program designed to attract academically talented minority individuals into the teaching profession. Through this program, students enrolled in approved teacher education programs receive loans to assist with educational expenses. For students who meet all of the program's obligations, the loans are forgiven through conversion to a scholarship (gift aid).

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for assistance you must meet the following requirements.

Initial Students

  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident, or otherwise lawfully present in the United States.
  • Be a Missouri resident.
  • Be African American, Asian American, Hispanic American or Native American.
  • Be one of the following:
    • A recent high school graduate, college student or returning adult (without a degree) who ranks in the top 25 of percent of their high school class and scores in the top 25 percent of the ACT or SAT exam*, or another accepted, national academic assessment exam; or
    • An individual with a baccalaureate degree who is returning to an approved math or science teacher education program.
  • Be enrolled full-time in an approved teacher education program at a participating community college or four-year college or university in Missouri.
  • Submit an application postmarked by the June 1 deadline.

Renewal Students

  • Continue to meet the eligibility requirements for initial students, except for submission of an application.
  • Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school.

* For the 2014-2015 academic year, the qualifying ACT and SAT scores are:

  • ACT composite score of 24
  • SAT composite critical reading and math score of 1360.

The writing portions of the exams are not included in the qualifying scores.

What are my obligations?

In order for your loan(s) to be forgiven, you must meet the following obligations. If you do not meet all of your obligations, you must repay the loan(s) with 9.5% interest.

  • Enroll in and complete a college program designed to qualify you for a Missouri teaching certificate. In order to receive a payment as a graduate student, you must also commit to teach science or mathematics.
    • Repayment will be required if you cease study leading to teacher certification for any reason, such as selecting courses that indicate you have changed your career goal; withdrawal from school; or dismissal, suspension, or expulsion from school for any reason, or if you enroll less than full-time.
    • Interest will begin to accrue from the date you cease your study for teacher certification.
  • Receive your teaching certificate within six months of your graduation.  If you do not meet this requirement, interest will begin to accrue from your graduation date.
  • Teach on a full-time basis for five years in a Missouri public elementary or secondary school after receiving your teaching certificate.
    • You must be hired within 10 months of receiving your teaching certificate or you will enter repayment. If you fail to secure qualified employment, interest will begin to accrue from the date your teacher certification was issued.
    • If you no longer hold qualified employment, interest will begin to accrue the day after your last date of qualified employment.
  • Notify the MDHE within 30 days of a change in your enrollment or employment status that would trigger repayment.  Otherwise, notify the MDHE annually of your current status as a student or teacher, depending on your situation.

Repayment may be delayed in the following circumstances.

  • If you return to full-time graduate study in a math or science field, repayment may be delayed for not more than two years.
  • If you request maternity leave from a Missouri public school district, repayment may be delayed for not more than one semester. You must return to a math or science teaching position in a Missouri public elementary or secondary school following the leave.
  • If you serve in any branch of the United States armed forces.

For each year that you teach math or science full-time in a Missouri public elementary or secondary school, one-fifth of the total amount you borrowed will convert to scholarship funds that do not have to be repaid.

How much can I receive?

Maximum award amounts are $3,000 each year. The state provides $2,000 of the award as a forgivable loan. The remaining $1,000 is provided by the school you are attending, in the form of a scholarship that does not require repayment. One half of the award will be delivered to you each semester, $1,000 from the state and $500 from the school for a total of $1,500.

Each semester you will be required to sign a promissory note in order to receive the $1,000 from the state. If you do not fulfill the program's obligations, you will be required to repay the total amount borrowed from the state over your college career at 9.5 percent interest. The funds you receive from the school are always treated as a scholarship that does not have to be repaid. However, you cannot receive the $500 scholarship unless you also receive the $1,000 forgivable loan.

The maximum amount you can receive through the program is $12,000: $8,000 from the state that may be subject to repayment and $4,000 from the school that is not subject to repayment.

How can I apply?

If you have never received the scholarship before, download and complete the Minority Teaching Scholarship application. If you are renewing the award you do not need to complete an application. Return the completed application to:

Missouri Department of Higher Education,
Attn: Minority Teaching Scholarship,
P.O. Box 1469,
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1469.

The application deadline for the 2014-2015 academic year is June 1, 2014. Along with the application you must submit a short essay, a résumé, and three references. You may download the reference form and print three copies.

The selection criteria include:

  • High school class rank;
  • ACT or SAT score;
  • School and community activities;
  • Career interest in teaching;
  • Leadership skills;
  • Employment experience; and
  • Recommendations.

The application requires you to select three school choices. The MDHE will attempt to ensure you receive the award at the first school choice listed on your application. However, since schools are required to complete the award with their own funds, the number of scholarships available at your first school choice may be limited. As a result, the award may only be available at the school you listed as your second, or even possibly your third, choice.

How will I know if I am eligible?

If you are selected for an award, you will receive an approval letter in late spring or early summer. Renewal students will also receive an award notice at the same time.

Final eligibility is determined by the school you are attending. Contact your school or the MDHE for your eligibility status.

How will I receive my award?

Whether you are an initial or renewal student, you will be required to accept the award by returning your signed and notarized promissory note for $1,000 to the MDHE for the semester. If you do not return the promissory note you will have declined the award for that semester. Promissory notes are sent to the institution you are attending. The financial aid office will contact you about your promissory note. You may return your promissory note at any time throughout the semester. However, your award will not be disbursed to your school until you have a valid promissory note on file with the MDHE, so you are encouraged to return it as early as possible.

If you returned a valid promissory note, the school you are attending will certify your eligibility. The certification process will typically take about three weeks. If your school verifies you are eligible, the MDHE will send your award to your school and they will deliver it to you, along with their $500 semester award. Generally, you should receive your fall payment by mid-September and your spring payment by mid-February. However, please keep in mind delivery timeframes can vary from school to school.

How do I renew my award?

You may renew your award for three additional years. This means you may receive the award for a total of four years. Your eligibility expires after the fourth year you are awarded, even if you have not received the maximum $12,000 described in “How much can I receive?” above.  If you are a graduate student, awards received as an undergraduate student are included in the four-year total.

The MDHE will provide you with information about renewing your award each year.

How do I transfer my award?

You may transfer your eligibility to any participating school, as long as the school can provide its $1,000 portion of the award. If you choose to transfer to a different participating Missouri school, either between academic years or semesters, you must contact the MDHE at (800) 473-6757, option 4.

How do I repay my award if I don’t meet the program’s obligations?

The MDHE will mail a repayment schedule based on a 10-year repayment plan to you when you enter repayment.  Your payment amount will be based on the total amount you received plus accrued interest, but will never be less than $50 per month or $600 per year.

Your first payment will be due by the last day of the month in which the schedule is dated.  For example, if your repayment schedule is dated May 15, your first payment would be due May 31.  Subsequent payments will be due by the last day of each following month.  Checks should be made payable to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and mailed to:

Missouri Department of Higher Education
Attn: Minority Teaching Scholarship
P.O. Box 1469
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1469

The MDHE will apply your payments first to accrued interest and then to principal.  You may repay your loan(s) in full at any time without penalty.

Can I defer my repayment?

You may defer your principal and interest payments if you:

  • Enroll full-time in postsecondary education.  The school you are attending must certify your full-time enrollment at least annually.  In this instance your deferment will begin on the first day of your full-time enrollment.
  • Have a physician-certified medical need other than a temporary, total disability or permanent and total disability.
  • Are providing service in any branch of the U.S. armed forces
  • Have a physician-certified temporary, total disability.  The certification must include:
    • The nature of the disability
    • The date the disability began
    • The expected duration of your recovery

If your physician certifies your disability is permanent and total rather than temporary and total, you should submit a request to have your loans cancelled rather than deferred.

You must submit written notification to the MDHE at the beginning and end of the deferment period and submit any requested supporting documentation.  The notification and supporting documentation should be mailed to:

Missouri Department of Higher Education
Attn: Minority Teaching Scholarship
P.O. Box 1469
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1469

Interest will not accrue during the approved deferment period.  If you continue to make payments while in deferment, your payments will be applied first to any interest that accrued prior to the deferment and then to principal.

What happens if I fail to repay my loans?

Your account will be placed in default if you fail to make three consecutive, scheduled payments.  Once in default, you must repay the full balance of your loan (principal and interest) within one year.

The MDHE will send you a notice of the default by certified mail to your last known mailing address.  You will have 30 days from the notice date to make satisfactory repayment arrangements.

You can remove the default status from your account by making three consecutive, on-time payments that are at least the minimum amount provided on the repayment schedule.