Many law schools forgive the tuition loans they make to students who accept public-service jobs, and the practice has caught on with some high-end business schools at Harvard and Stanford universities.
But until now, even the most expensive education schools have not offered such a break, say officials at Stanford University’s school of education.
Stanford alumna Judy Avery has changed that with a $10 million gift that the university has matched to establish a $20 million loan-forgiveness program at the university’s education school.
Ms. Avery, a 1959 Stanford graduate, chairs the Durfee Foundation in Santa Monica, Calif. Her mother, who along with her father started the foundation, was a public schoolteacher.
By significantly reducing aspiring teachers’ postgraduation debt burden, the program aims to encourage students—especially those from low-income communities—to choose and stick with teaching.
Stanford trains K-12 teachers mainly in a one-year postgraduate program leading to a master’s degree. The total cost of that year can climb as high $65,000, according to the school’s figures.
“We hope more people will open up to the possibilities” of teaching because of the program, said Rebecca Tseng Smith, an associate dean.
Under the program, half of a recipient’s loan will be canceled after two years of teaching in a public school and the other half after a second two years. Students who go on to teach in private schools in underserved communities will also be considered.
Ms. Smith said she thought the loans were likely to amount to $10,000 to $15,000 in aid per person, since just about all the 90 students in a teacher education class would be eligible.
A version of this article appeared in the October 18, 2006 edition of Education Week