Critical Needs Alternate Route Teacher Forgivable Loan Program (CNAR)

The 2014-2015 academic year will be the last academic year new awards are offered for CNAR. Renewal CNAR  students may still apply for remaining funds.

Program Overview
The primary objectives of this program are to provide education opportunities for students who wish to become classroom teachers and address Mississippi’s teacher shortage by providing a constant source of qualified classroom teachers for our public schools. CNAR awards will be made available, to the extent of appropriated funds, to persons seeking a first bachelor’s degree at one Mississippi institution of higher learning in exchange for employment as a classroom teacher in a Mississippi Teacher Critical Shortage Area or Subject Area after completion of an alternate route certification program.

Important Dates
Application dates: January 1st – March 31st
Document deadline: April 30
Praxis test results: June 30
The dates are important as the number of awards and recipients are dependent upon available funds and awards are made on a first-come, first-serve basis.

You are eligible if all of the following apply:

  • You are seeking a first Bachelor’s degree and plan to enroll in a program of study leading to an alternative route teacher license immediately after completing bachelor’s degree.
  • You have a cumulative 3.0 GPA.
  • You have at least junior status at one of Mississippi’s 4-year institutions.
  • You are enrolled for at least 6 credit hours.
  • You can show proof of passing the Praxis: Praxis 1 Pre-Professional Skills Test (if taken on/before 12/31/2013 and applying for license on/before 9/1/2015) OR Praxis Core Academic Skills Test (if taken after 1/1/2014).

Review the complete program Rules and Regulations: CNAR Rules and Regulations

Award Amount

  • The annual award amount for full-time students at a Mississippi public college or university shall equal the total cost for tuition, room and board, not to exceed an amount equal to the highest total cost of tuition, room and meals assessed by a State Institution of Higher Learning. The award amount is prorated for part time students.
  • CNAR recipients are not eligible for any other state aid.
  • The award shall be suspended should a recipient fail to maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA for the subsequent period of enrollment.

Service Obligation
The loan to service obligation can be discharged on the basis of one year’s teaching service for one year of full-time loan received. The service must be rendered as a licensed classroom teacher in a MS public school district located in a critical teacher or subject shortage area.

To Apply

  • Complete the online application by the application date of March 31. This online application must be completed each academic year whether you are a prior recipient or a first-time applicant.
  • Submit passing scores for the Praxis: Praxis 1 Pre-Professional Skills Test (if taken on/before 12/31/2013 and applying for license on/before 9/1/2015) OR Praxis Core Academic Skills Test (if taken after 1/1/2014). Send scores to the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211.  Praxis testing information is available here.  Mississippi Education Licensure information is available here.

How to Submit Supporting Documents

The CNAR Award Process

  1. A student submits an application online at the State Financial Aid page.
  2. If the student provides an email address requesting electronic communication, the student will immediately receive an email confirmation that the application was successfully submitted. Students requesting paper communication will not receive an application confirmation.
  3. After a couple of business days, the student will be sent communication (either by email or regular mail, based on the student’s preferred method of communication) that contains a state-assigned Personal Identification Number (PIN). The student can use the PIN to log in to his/her student account to check the status of an application or make changes to an application.
  4. Supporting documents that may be needed to complete an application will be listed on the student account. Students should check the student account periodically to determine what documents are needed.
  5. The Office will receive an annual appropriation from the Mississippi Legislature at the end of the annual Legislative Session (typically in late March/early April during 90-day terms or late April /early May during 120-day terms).
  6. If funding is available, the Office will make award offers as soon as possible after receiving an appropriation, but no later than mid-June.
  7. Once award offers are made, to accept an award, the student must sign a Master Contract and Note, which includes the program Rules and Regulations, and sign a Private Loan Self-Certification and Entrance Counseling Form. The contract may be signed electronically, but the self-certification form must be signed with pen and returned in hard-copy.
  8. When the Contract and Self-certification/Entrance Counseling form have been received, the Office will notify the student’s attending institution that the student has been awarded.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Doesn’t your office automatically receive my Praxis scores?
    No. Scores are automatically sent to the Mississippi Department of Education for licensure requirements and not the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid. Students must mail in a copy of their passing Praxis scores to the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid to be considered to receive CNAR. Scores may be submitted after the March 31st deadline.
  2. The CNAR program requires applicants to have passed Praxis. My school does not require me to take the test prior to admission, can this requirement be waived?
    No. All CNAR recipients must submit proof that they have passed Praxis.
  3. Upon graduation, do I get to choose the Critical Needs area in which to teach or am I just placed in a teaching job?
    The Mississippi Teacher Center will assist CNAR participants in arranging placement interviews with Mississippi public school districts; however, it is the responsibility of the participant to secure a teaching position.
  4. CNAR pays tuition plus average cost of room and board. What if I live off campus or move off campus?
    The amount of CNAR remains the same if a student lives on or off campus.
  5. Is CNAR available to me for summer school? 
    No. CNAR is available during the regular academic year only.
  6. I am about to graduate. What’s next?
    The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid (MOSFA) has contracted with ECSI to service our forgivable loan accounts by ensuring compliance with service or repayment terms. Upon graduation, you will receive communication from ECSI. We ask that all recipients respond promptly to any and all correspondence you receive from ECSI regarding your account. You may still contact MOSFA should you have questions or need assistance.

How to Submit Supporting Documents