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Forgivable Loans Available for Students Interested
In Becoming Teachers of the Visually Impaired

August 2, 2001

Madison - A new forgivable loan program is available to Wisconsin residents interested in becoming teachers of the visually impaired or orientation and mobility instructors. Eligible undergraduate and graduate college or university students willing to work in this field could be eligible to borrow up to $10,000 per year for up to four years.

The Teacher of the Visually Impaired Loan Program began in 2000 and is now in its second year. It is aimed at students attending a college or university. If students are Wisconsin residents and enrolled at least half-time in a program that prepares them to be licensed as teachers of the visually impaired or orientation and mobility instructors they are eligible to participate in this program. Students may be enrolled at an in-state or eligible out-of-state college or university. The maximum award is $10,000 per school year. Eligibility to participate is determined by the college or university and the Higher Educational Aids Board.

In order to qualify to have the loans forgiven, students must agree to be a licensed teacher of the visually impaired or an orientation and mobility instructor in a Wisconsin school district, the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired or a cooperative educational service agency. For each of the first two years of full-time teaching, 25% of the loan is forgiven each year. For the third year of full-time teaching, the remaining 50% is forgiven. If students do not teach and meet the eligibility requirement, the loans must be repaid at an interest rate of 5%.

"This is a wonderful new program." says HEAB Executive Secretary Jane Hojan-Clark. "It offers Wisconsin students economic help to enter an interesting and challenging area of teaching. At the same time, the needs of Wisconsin's visually impaired residents are met."

People interested in getting more information should contact Jim Buske of the HEAB staff. He can be contacted by phone at (608) 267-9865 and by e-mail at james.buske@heab.state.wi.us.


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