NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Teacher shortages continue to plaque classrooms across Oklahoma. Recently, the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma announced incentives for aspiring teachers, who get a degree and teach in the state.
It’s called the Inspire to Teach program.
OU senior Jennevieve Scott took an unconventional route to find her career path but she has benefited financially from the new program.
“I came into teaching later in life,” said Scott. I’m a non-traditional student. I was substitute teaching and it took me about a month in the classroom to realize that’s what I wanted to do as my career.”
Scott, who will graduate in May, thought her degree was out of reach without financial help.
“We really had to weigh the cost of everything,” said Scott.
The Inspire to Teach program will allow students who have graduated from an Oklahoma high school and declared a major at an accredited Oklahoma teaching program, to receive $1,000 during their freshman, sophomore, and junior year. An additional $2,500 will be given during the senior year. Once the teacher has received a certification, they will get $4,000 a year for the next five years if they teach in an Oklahoma school.
That will total $25,500 in incentives.
Dr. Aiyana Henry is an associate dean at OU’s College of Education.
“When you go to education, I think you go into it for a lot of reasons,” said Dr. Henry. “Having that money, it will remove barriers for some students that, that’s not an option for them.”
For soon-to-be teachers like Scott, that will be one less obstacle before starting her career.
“I think that anything worth doing is going to be scary.”
The program is a statewide scholarship and employment incentive program, but it was only recently available at OU. To apply, visit OU’s undergraduate academic advising office.