Teacher Education Scholars Alternate Route Certification Forgivable Loan (TESA)

Program Overview

The Teacher Education Scholars Alternate Route Certification Forgivable Loan (TESA) program was created during the 2014 Legislative Session to encourage college graduates to pursue a career in teaching through an alternate route teacher’s license. Subject to appropriation by the Legislature, awards not to exceed $5,000 annually will be made to students pursuing an alternate route teacher’s license. The entire loan amount will be forgiven in its entirety for recipients who teach in a Mississippi public school following certification and licensure for one year in exchange for each year of funding received.

*The TESA Program requires specific appropriation by the Mississippi Legislature. Unfortunately, an appropriation was not made available for the 2015-16 academic year. This site will be updated if funds are made available in the future.

Important Dates

Application dates: OPEN*
*The online application is not yet available. Once available, the application will remain open at all times throughout the academic year.

Supporting Document deadline: OPEN*
*Supporting Documents will be accepted at all times throughout the academic year.

Although the application will remain open at all times, the number of awards and recipients are dependent upon available funds. Awards are made on a first-come, first-served basis. All awards are subject to appropriation by the Legislature.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Enroll in one of the following Alternate Route Programs of study leading to a renewable five-year Class A Mississippi educator’s license (click here to learn more about the state-approved programs):
  2. Hold a bachelor’s degree (non-education) from a regionally or nationally accredited postsecondary institution.
  3. Have a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) on the last sixty (60) credit hours of baccalaureate work, as reported by the graduating institution.
  4. Complete the online application and submit all supporting documentation.

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

Award Amount

  • The amount of the annual award shall equal the published cost of the approved alternate route program in which the student is enrolled, not to exceed $5,000.
  • For students enrolled in MAT programs, the TESA award shall cover only the published cost of the 12 credit hours needed to obtain a renewable five-year Class A Mississippi Educator License.
  • Students may receive funds to participate in only one of the approved alternate route programs of study and may receive only one annual award.
  • Awards shall be disbursed directly to the school of attendance or alternate route education provider, upon receipt of an invoice. It is the responsibility of the award recipient to submit invoice(s) for payment.
  • TESA recipients are expected to complete the certification process in a timely manner, regardless of the amount of time allowed for completion of the process by a given program of study. Therefore, if an award recipient is billed in multiple invoices for a single program of study, the award recipient must submit all subsequent invoices within fifteen (15) calendar months of the date of the original invoice submission.
  • Recipients of the Critical Needs Teacher Forgivable Loan (CNTP), the William Winter Teacher Forgivable Loan (WWTS), and the Teacher Education Scholars Forgivable Loan (TES) are not eligible for TESA funds. Recipients of the Critical Needs Alternative Route Teacher Forgivable Loan (CNAR) or the William Winter Alternate Route Teacher Forgivable Loan (WWAR), who meet all TESA eligibility requirements, may be eligible for TESA funds. Such recipients will be required to repay both loans according to the terms of their contracts, but may not fulfill the service requirement for both programs concurrently.

Service Obligation

The service obligation can be fulfilled on the basis of one (1) year of service for each year of loan received. Teaching service is defined as being employed as a contracted full-time licensed classroom teacher in a Mississippi public school.

Awarding priorities

The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid will make awards on a first-come, first-served based upon the level of funding.

To Apply

  1. Complete the online application*.
    *The online application is not yet available. Once available, the application will remain open at all times throughout the academic year.
  2. Submit the following supporting documents.*
    *Supporting Documents will be accepted at all times throughout the academic year.

    • Proof of a minimum 3.0 GPA on the final sixty (60) credit hours of baccalaureate work. The student’s graduating institution should supply the requested GPA.
    • Proof of acceptance into one of the approved alternate route programs leading to teacher certification.

How to Submit Supporting Documents

The TESA Award Process

  1. A student submits the online application.
  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 and completing the internal budget process, but no later than mid-July.
  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 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 form have been received, the Office will notify the student’s attending institution that the student has been awarded.

How to Submit Supporting Documents