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State Teacher Education Program (STEP)

General Information

The State Teacher Education Program (STEP) provides assistance for eligible teachers with repayment of outstanding federal student loans. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) shall administer the State Teacher Education Program (STEP) within the policies set by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The State Teacher Education Program recipients may receive:

  • Loan repayment for federal student loans in the amount of three thousand dollars ($3,000) per year for each year a licensed teacher teaches in a public school located in a geographical area of the state designated as having a critical shortage of teachers OR in a subject matter area designated as having a critical shortage of teachers.
  • Additional loan repayment for federal student loans in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per year for each year a licensed minority teacher teaches in a public school located in a geographical area of the state designated as having a critical shortage of teachers and/or in a subject matter area designated as having a critical shortage of teachers in Arkansas.

Total term of federal student loan repayment shall not exceed three years.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant must be a bona fide Arkansas resident, as defined by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, for at least twelve (12) months prior to the application deadline.
  • Applicant must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien.
  • Applicant must have graduated from a teacher education program after April 2004.
  • Applicant must have outstanding federal student loans.
  • Applicant must hold a valid Arkansas teacher’s license.
  • Applicant must teach full-time at a public school district in Arkansas during the award year.

In addition to the above, applicant must meet one of the additional criteria:

  • Teach in a subject area with a teacher shortage, as identified by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Education; or
  • Teach in a geographic area with a teacher shortage, as identified by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Education.

Continued Eligibility

STEP recipients must re-apply each year and meet all eligibility requirements each year. Total term of federal student loan repayment shall not exceed three years.

Application Deadline

June 1 each application year.

Disclaimer: The laws, rules, regulations, award amounts, amount of awardees, eligibility criteria, funding per program, etc. are subject to change at any point prior to, during or after application through the YOUniversal application. These changes will be based on changes in law or funding provided by the Arkansas General Assembly. It is understood that ADHE is not at fault for any changes that occur to any financial aid program. In addition, awards for all ADHE programs are limited by the availability of funds.