New MOHELA Loans
Most anyone could use $3,500, especially college freshmen who have taken out loans. MOHELA's mission is to eliminate barriers for students so they can access higher education, and this funding is so more students look in these specific fields.
"We're going to have to encourage our country's most talented people to pursue careers in these areas," said Doug King, CEO of St. Louis Science Center.
The first of two new programs aims to help teachers in their first five years of teaching. Math and science teachers who have outstanding MOHELA loans can get up to $2,000 in loan forgiveness.
The other program targets prospective engineers. Only first time freshmen will be eligible. Those students entering an engineering or two-year pre-engineering program who meet academic standards can get up to thirty-five hundred dollars in loan forgiveness.
According to Mohela Associate Director Quentin Wilson, New programs like these show MOHELA isn't distracted by recent legislative debates.
"We're trying to make a statement with this kind of program that we're strong and capable," he said. "We're not letting ourselves be detracted from our mission."
Local colleges and universities hope offering this loan forgiveness will encourage students to take the opportunity to get into an engineering program.
"What we find is that most students, if they simply try the pre-engineering curriculum, they'll find out they can do it, they enjoy it, and it leads to very productive careers," said Jay Goff from the University of Missouri-Rolla.
The program will be available for the 2007-2008 school year for freshmen who have officially declared a Pre-Engineering or Engineering major. MOHELA says the 531 teachers in the state who qualify for the math and science teacher program have been contacted by e-mail.
Representatives from Washington University, the University of Missiouri-St. Louis and Rolla, and St. Louis Community College spoke in support of the new programs Wednesday morning.