Quality Educator Loan Assistance (QELA) Program

Through HB 211, the 2019 Montana legislature renewed the quality educator loan assistance program as a recruitment and retention aid for rural schools.  The OPI is responsible for administering the program.

Newly hired quality educators who teach or work in a subject that has been identified as a “critical quality educator shortage area” at an “impacted school” are eligible to receive state paid loan assistance for up to four years, so long as they remain a full time employee at an impacted school. 

The Office of Public Instruction is currently in the process of updating the new TeachMT licensing system to include the Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program application. OPI anticipates the application process will open February 2023 and will be open through April 2023. Please check back for updates.    


For information about Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program email OPILoanAssistance@mt.gov.




Before you apply, find out if you qualify: 

Do you teach in a subject considered to be a shortage area?

Quality Educator Shortage Areas List

Do you work at an impacted school? 

Impacted Schools List 

If you qualify, download the application, then submit with a current loan statement on this page. For more information about applying and other common questions, see the Quality Educator Loan Assistance FAQ's.







National Board Teacher Stipend Program

Montana provides a state stipend to teachers who receive National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).  The current program was enacted into law by the 2017 Montana legislature. 

Since the legislation was partially aimed at helping the recruitment and retention of teachers at impacted schools, the stipend amount is higher for teachers at schools with critical educator shortages and those schools who qualify for school wide free and reduced lunch. 

The educator shortage report will be released in November 2019.

The Teacher Stipend Program with School Accounting Guidance provides a detailed explanation of the statute and Montana's National Board Certification program.

Additional Resources



Have questions?

For information about National Board Teacher Stipend Program contact Whitney Williams, 406-444-3408

For information about Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program email OPILoanAssistance@mt.gov.

Jay Phillips, 406-444-4523