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, 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 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. 

Due to the passage of SB70 by the 2023 legislature, the OPI will be extending the Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program application through May 21, 2023. SB70 removed the requirement that teachers at an impacted school be in a critical quality educator shortage area. This expanded the eligibility for many newly hired teachers working in an impacted school.

For applications already submitted, OPI will apply the new criteria to determine eligibility.

Use the application link to complete an application and upload required documents. 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, 2023. Letters to applicants will be sent at the same 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




Before you apply, find out if you qualify: 

Do you work at an impacted school? 

Impacted Schools List 

If you qualify, click on the link and complete the application and upload a current loan statement before you submit. For more information about applying and other common questions, see the Quality Educator Loan Assistance FAQ's.


Quality Educator Loan Assistance Application










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

Jay Phillips, 406-444-4523