MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a bill that expands a loan forgiveness program designed to attract more minority teachers to the classroom.

The bipartisan bill approved Tuesday on a voice vote would make the program eligible to teachers in high demand fields in any school district where at least 40% of the population is non-white. Currently, the program is only available in Milwaukee.

Expanding it would make it available in about 25 school districts and tribal schools.

Applicants must also receive a rating of proficient or distinguished under the educator effectiveness system to be eligible.

Under the program, the recipient can receive forgiveness of 25% of the interest and principal on loans.

The benefit is available to African American, Latino, American Indian and some Southeast Asian populations to study teaching at a Wisconsin college.

The bill now heads to the state Senate.