Foundation ready to help

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Forgivable loans available for students seeking medical careers; available to traditional and nontraditional students

As another school year finally winds down, many high school seniors are looking toward the future with anticipation — and apprehension. The ever-rising cost of post-secondary education makes it difficult for some students to see past graduation night, especially if they are considering a vocation in medicine.
However, help is just an application away for Owen County residents who are seeking a career in the following professions: doctor; nurse (RN or LPN); physical therapist; PT assistant; paramedic; pharmacist; nurse practitioner; medical technician; X-ray technician; surgical technician; occupational therapist; OT assistant; speech therapist; or ST assistant.
The New Horizons Medical Foundation provides a forgivable student loan in an effort to increase those trained to provide services right here in the community.
“What better way to increase our services than to increase the number of local residents trained to provide them?” John Ashcraft, chairman of the foundation, said.
But the loan isn’t just available to graduating seniors. Any Owen County resident considering a career in one of the listed fields may request funding from the loan fund. This fund makes it possible for adults changing careers to receive financial assistance as they seek the necessary education to do so.
“I’ve gone back to school so I imagine other adults in the community are considering doing so themselves,” Ashcraft, who is working on a master’s degree in special education, said. “This is a great opportunity for mature learners to receive the assistance they deserve in finding the perfect second or third career.”
When the foundation was formed eight years ago, the group decided that putting aside funds for loans/scholarships was an important part of its mission. The foundation earmarked $50,000 in funds for the New Horizons Medical Foundation Student Loan Fund.
As of last fall, $42,000 had been distributed to local residents as a loan with conditions that allow the funds to become a scholarship. For each full year the loan-recipient works in Owen County within their medical profession, NHMF will forgive 20 percent of the loan balance. Five years of local employment results in the loan being completely forgiven.
To qualify, students must:
• Be an Owen County resident at the time of application;
• Maintain a 2.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale;
• Maintain a course load of at least 12 credit hours. Students who drop below this level will have that semester’s payment pro-rated proportionally;
• Sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the loan.
Loans carry an interest rate of 6 percent per annum. Interest begins to accrue when the student completes their course of study or leaves school. Repayment of the loan begins six months from the date the student is no longer in school and will be spread over a five-year period.
For more information about the scholarship program or to download an application, go to www.newhorizonsmedicalfoundation.or/Educational_Assistance.html