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February 19, 2008 :: Math, Science Teachers Receive $12,000 for Completing State Program

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Several Oklahoma math and science teachers will receive an extra $12,000 this year thanks to a legislative program that rewards them for fulfilling a five-year teaching agreement.

At their recent meeting, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved awards of $12,168 each to participants who complete the Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program (TSEIP) this year.

State lawmakers created TSEIP in 2000 to attract and retain more teachers in math and science. The program is administered by the State Regents.

“New teachers undertake significant personal expenses when starting their careers,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “A $12,000 incentive will help lift those financial burdens and assist with keeping our newest teachers in Oklahoma.”

To be eligible for TSEIP, teachers must agree to participate while in college, obtain a math or science education degree and teach in an Oklahoma secondary school for at least five years.
Currently, 415 teachers are enrolled in the program.

After completing their fifth year of teaching, participants return documents to TSEIP, and the award is applied toward eligible student loans. Any money remaining after the student loans have been paid is given to the individual teachers. For teachers who do not have any loans to repay, they instead will receive the incentive as a cash award.

Officials requested this month to increase to the financial benefit by $1,020 to keep pace with the cost of college. The legislation that created TSEIP also requires a formula for its incentive amount, which is three times the average annual cost of undergraduate tuition and fees at a state college or university that offers teacher education programs.

Students interested in learning more about TSEIP should contact the education department at their respective college or university or visit the TSEIP Web site at www.okhighered.org/tseip. They may also contact the State Regents Teacher Education Program at (800) 858-1840 or e-mail ssarani@osrhe.edu.