Updated on 3/12/2020 at 12:30 PM CST: The Senate voted unanimously to pass SB2864 on March 4, 2020. It has now been transmitted to the House.
Today, the Senate Education Committee voted to extend the Mississippi Employer-Assisted Housing Teacher Program and remove the requirement that the program be administered in conjunction with the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). Under SB2864, the program would be extended until July 2021, at which point it would either expire or need to be extended again. § 37-159-11 of current law requires that the program be administered by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) in conjunction with Fannie Mae. SB2864 would put the authority solely under MDE.
The Employer-Assisted Housing Teacher Program, which was one of many initiatives included in the Critical Teacher Shortage Act of 1998, provides forgivable home loans for teachers in critical shortage areas. Under the program, teachers in geographic shortage areas are eligible to receive up to a $6,000 loan for down payment on a house located in the school district’s county. For each year of service, teachers are eligible for one-third of the loan to be converted into an interest-free grant. If a teacher does not serve a full three years, they are liable for one-third of the loan for each year they did not serve, plus interest.
SB2508, a bill to extend all provisions of the Critical Teacher Shortage Act, was previously passed by the Senate Education Committee on February 27, which would also extend the Employer-Assisted Housing Teacher Program to 2021. However, SB2508 would leave the program under the administration of both MDE and Fannie Mae.