Montana is directly addressing the issue of retaining and recruiting educators by supporting stipends for Montana teachers who become National Board Certified and providing funds to help teachers pay back educational loans.  Both programs are built on the fact that student achievement is directly impacted by high quality, prepared, and experienced educators.


Quality Educator Loan Assistance (QELA) Program

Through HB 211 (MCA 20-4-5), the 2019 Montana legislature renewed the quality educator loan assistance program as a recruitment and retention aid for rural schools.  SB 70 (MCA 20-5-504) expanded eligibility and limited the total amount of funding for the program. The OPI is responsible for administering the program.

Newly hired quality educators who teach or work at an “impacted school” are eligible to receive state paid loan assistance for up to three years, so long as they remain a full-time employee at an impacted school. A fourth year of loan repayment assistance may be available through the local impacted school or district.  

The application link on this page will become active mid-February. All applications must be received through the application link, with complete documentation as required, by April 15, 2024.  Please note that approvals and payments will not be processed until the review process is complete for all applications, between June 15 and June 30, 2024. Letters to applicants will be sent at that time. Please check back for updates. If there are any changes to this program, the changes will be posted here.   


For information about Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program email




The application period has closed.

OPI staff are in the review process and will be in touch with applicants soon.






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 406-438-3601

For information about Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program email 406-438-3601