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On a Trajectory to Teach: Five CSUSM Graduates Accepted into Forgivable Loan Program

Five graduates from California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) are among the 2011-12 recipients of the CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive, a unique forgivable loan program for students who demonstrate strong interest in applying and competing for CSU instructional faculty positions after completion of their doctoral degree.This year’s CSUSM awardees, and the focus of their doctoral study, include April Anderson (English), Elvira Dominguez-Gomez (Nursing), Holly Gerrity (Political Science), Gina Merchant (Public Health), and Tom Springer (Computer Science).The largest program of its kind in the nation, the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program received 85 applications for the 2011-12 academic years, of which CSU Chancellor Charles Reed approved 60 candidates for the forgivable loan program.Established in 1987, the purpose of the program is to increase the pool of doctoral applicants with the qualifications, motivation and skills to teach the diverse student population within the 23-campus system. As of July 2010 the elite program has loaned more than $40 million to 1,826 doctoral students. Nearly 1,000 of these participants have already successfully earned doctoral degrees, and subsequently 60 percent obtained CSU faculty positions.The first graduates from CSUSM to receive the prestigious distinction as a program recipients were Guillermo Jimenez and Carlos Ulloa, who began their doctoral study in 1994. Since then, more than 35 CSUSM alumni have been accepted into the forgivable loan program.Although awarded by CSU, the highly competitive program does not require applicants to be CSU graduates. The program application is open to all new or continuing full-time graduate students enrolled in a doctoral program at any accredited university within the United States, with the caveat that all candidates must have a CSU faculty advisor. The aim of the advisory mentorship is to help a student become more familiar with the internal workings of higher education institutions and the faculty labor market, in addition to supporting the student in his or her doctoral study.Through the forgivable loan program, graduate students may borrow up to $10,000 per year, with a maximum of $30,000 awarded within a five-year period. Students who complete their doctoral studies and obtain a full-time teaching position within in the CSU system will have their loans forgiven at the rate of twenty percent for each year of instruction; those who do not obtain a CSU faculty position are required to repay the loan at an interest rate comparable to other graduate student loans. After five years of full time faculty service, the entire loan amount is forgiven.About California State University San MarcosCalifornia State University San Marcos combines the ambiance of a mid-sized, personal, modern campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Since its founding in 1989, the campus has distinguished itself. Students benefit from the latest facilities and equipment, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life in and out of the workplace. A recent survey reported that our annual spending in the region was $161 million, generating a total impact of $307 million on the regional economy. 85 percent of CSUSM’s alumni stay in the region. CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is 15 miles east of the ocean; just 30 miles north of downtown San Diego.