ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - January 24, 2008) - The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) has announced loan forgiveness awards of up to $3,200 for 510 public school teachers in Missouri. Designed to encourage the retention of quality educators, the awards went to all certified first-year teachers with Stafford student loans owned and serviced by MOHELA, as well as provisionally certified math, science and special education teachers.

This award brings the total higher education loan balance and fee reduction granted by MOHELA to more than $42 million since 2000. In addition, MOHELA has pledged $335 million to help universities across Missouri improve facilities and provided $15 million to encourage research, development and commercialization of new technologies through the Missouri Technology Corporation.

In addition to teachers early in their careers, especially those in areas facing teacher shortages, past loan forgiveness awards have included Pell Grant recipients. Also, over the next two years, engineering or pre-engineering college students who are freshmen in Missouri during the current school year and have student loans with MOHELA will become eligible for as much as $3500 in Stafford student loan forgiveness, the maximum amount that such a student can borrow in that program.

"The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority continues to be a robust partner in helping Missouri students access world-class higher education in our state by providing low-cost student loans and great borrower benefits, including its continued loan forgiveness program," said Governor Matt Blunt. "Through loan forgiveness for hundreds of teachers, the agency is supporting our efforts to promote math, engineering, technology and science in Missouri by finding ways to encourage students to enter these important fields. Education is my highest priority as governor, and over four years my budgets will have delivered an additional $1.2 billion for Missouri universities, classrooms and students. I am pleased that MOHELA is helping us improve higher education in Missouri and encouraging students and teachers to pursue careers in math, engineering, technology and science."

Raymond H. Bayer Jr., MOHELA's CEO and Executive Director, said, "we especially appreciate the encouragement and support of the Missouri state departments of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Economic Development (DED) and Higher Education (MDHE) in making this loan forgiveness possible."

MOHELA is one of the largest student loan companies participating in the nonprofit secondary market sector in America and is a leading holder and servicer of student loans with more than $5 billion in assets and loan purchase activity in excess of $1.66 billion per year. MOHELA advances its benevolent mission of eliminating barriers for students so they can access higher education through local, regional and national partnerships with a variety of educational and financial institutions.

Contact Information: For additional information, contact: Will Shaffner 636-532-0600 x 83430 633 Spirit Drive Chesterfield, Missouri 63005-1243 1-888-866-4352