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OU's Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education Raises Funds for Scholarships/Debt Forgiveness Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

arm/6-23-14

Contact: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

NORMAN – University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced today that the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education has raised $3.1 million thus far in its $10 million fundraising drive for scholarships, the focal point of which is a Debt Forgiveness Program for new teachers. 

The college’s new Debt Forgiveness Program will help address the challenge facing half of OU’s teaching graduates, who leave with as much as $21,000 in education loan debt.  The average starting teacher’s salary in Oklahoma is $31,000, which means that some graduates never catch up with their debt and later leave the teaching profession for more lucrative fields.

Under the program, education graduates who enter such high-need areas as science, mathematics, world languages, special education or early childhood education can apply for up to $5,000 of debt forgiveness each year for four years, capping at $20,000.

“This innovative new initiative for ‘debt-free teachers’ will help keep talented newly graduated teachers in our state,” Boren said.

Recipients are asked to stay in the teaching profession for a minimum of four years, which is an important statistic threshold, said Education Dean Gregg Garn. Research shows that teachers who remain in the field beyond three years have a much greater chance of becoming lifelong education professionals. 

The idea for the effort came when Garn learned a good friend in the medical profession was leaving Oklahoma to take a job at an out-of-state rural Indian Health Services clinic that offered a similar debt forgiveness program.

“It really got me thinking about how we might adapt this to get teachers to stay in Oklahoma,” Garn said, explaining that Oklahoma often loses its best young educators to other states paying more competitive salaries. Also, OU students who might have a vocation for teaching often enter other degree programs due to fears about debt and earning potential.

The program may be the first of its kind among the nation’s colleges of education, Garn said.  The campaign for the Debt Forgiveness Program already is attracting several lead gifts. 

Donors are encouraged by the fact that their monies will be invested in someone who has already graduated college and is committed to helping Oklahoma schoolchildren in some of our state’s greatest areas of need.

“Everyone we have talked to has said, ‘This is a great idea,’ Garn said. “We can really fill some important workforce development needs in this state.”

 2013  |  2012  |  2011

April 2014

Mary Cotter-Lalli Receives the 2014 Regents' Award for Superior Staff at OU Health Sciences Center

University of Oklahoma Students Achieve Perfect Grade-Point Average

OU Drama Achieves National Honors

University of Oklahoma Student Business Team Achieves Top Honors in International Competition

OU Commencement to Feature CEO and Co-Founder of Teach For All, Photo Highlights of Graduating Class and Music

Alan Velie Named 2014 Otis Sullivant Award Winner

OU Pilot Program Advances Research in Arts and Humanities

OU to Establish Premier Center for Judaic and Israel Studies with Grant from Schusterman Family Foundation

Three OU Students Receive Boren Awards for International Study

Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History to be Awarded National Medal for Museum Service in White House Ceremony

Brad Burnett Receives the 2014 Regents' Award for Superior Staff

OU Designated Big 12 Conference Champion In EPA's College and University Green Power Challenge

OU Norman Campus Faculty Senate Adopts Resolution Against Guns on Campus

OU Licensing Department Achieves National Honors

2014 Staff Senate Awards Ceremony to be Held April 22

Five Outstanding Individuals to Receive Honorary Degrees at OU Commencement May 9

OU's Alexis Taitel Named Recipient of Truman Scholarship

2014 OU Staff Week to Include Daily Activities and Annual Awards Ceremony

OU History of Science Department Receives Sloan Foundation Grant to Build an Innovative Tool for Collaborative Research

OU Junior Rashid Campbell Wins Top Honors at National Debate Tournament

Norman Campus Provost Announces Intent to Resume Classroom Teaching; OU President David Boren to Recommend Kyle Harper as Interim Provost

OU President's Day of Learning Welcomes Back Alumni and Friends for its Second Year

University of Oklahoma Student Business Team Achieves Top Honor in National Competition

CEO and Co-Founder of Teach For All to Deliver OU Commencement Address

Liz Bergey Named Fulbright Alumni Ambassador

Akash Patel to Receive OU's Carl Albert Award

For requests for past releases, please contact OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-1701 or publicaffairs@ou.edu.