Court Reporting in the news...
OSU-OKC Partnership with Oklahoma Bar Association
OKLAHOMA CITY – A program that Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City launched last year is helping address the critical shortage of certified court reporters in the state.
“The program has taken off,” said Lisa Fisher, senior director of community engagement. “There are now three cohorts with a total of 75 students.”
The first cohort will complete the two-year program at the end of the year and graduate in a ceremony at the Oklahoma Supreme Court building, Fisher said.
“We’ve focused on trying to get court reporters in rural areas, where there really is a shortage,” she said. Rural means anywhere outside of Oklahoma and Tulsa counties.
To that end, OSU-OKC is offering scholarships to Oklahoma students who will consider working outside the two urban areas.
The money is provided through a $50,000 grant from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation.
“You have to have a court reporter to hold a trial or court proceeding to make sure there is due process,” said Renee DeMoss, the foundation’s executive director. “Everyone has a right to have the proceedings transcribed. Without a court reporter cases can’t go forward.”
DeMoss said a Texas County judge sent the foundation residual funds from a class action lawsuit for the purpose of preparing court reporters to serve rural areas.
Students in the program pay about $10,000 for classes and the stenotype machine, Fisher said. They are not eligible for federal financial aid because it is a training program, not a degree program, she said.
The grant money provides tuition scholarships of $1,000 to $1,500, Fisher said. OSU-OKC has awarded $19,000 to students so far and will offer the remain funds for the fall semester, she said.
All classes have been done completely online due to COVID-19, so students from across the country are participating, Fisher said. However, the scholarships are offered only to Oklahoma students.
The starting base salary for official court reporters in Oklahoma is approximately $45,000 per year. In addition, official court reporters are able to make additional income for copies of transcripts.
OSU-OKC begins the program each spring and fall, so students will have a couple of opportunities each year to enter. For more information, go to www.osuokc.edu/courtreporter.