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Available Scholarships for Teachers
Grants, loans and especially scholarships are administered based on a wide range of variables. Qualifications attached to financial aid are sometimes broad, but can also be very specific. For example, general need-based aid requires only that an applicant exhibit financial need during college, which opens eligibility to almost everyone with a tuition bill.
On the other hand, some financial aid funds are reserved for specific functions, like helping certain groups succeed, or encouraging academic excellence in specific areas. Minority scholarships and grants, for instance, target select groups to receive tuition assistance for college.
When the supply of well-trained professionals isn’t meeting the demand, financial aid is used to encourage students to go into certain fields. Targeted aid of this type is attractive to students who have not chosen a major, and to those who are already working toward degrees in high-demand fields.
Currently, college students pursuing teaching degrees are rewarded with privileged access to unique financial aid opportunities.
Elementary and secondary schools that enroll primarily low income children are suffering from shortages of competent teachers. As a result, pro-education efforts – including college tuition assistance - are originated at federal, state and local levels. Now, more than ever, undergraduates and graduate students are awarded career-specific college financial aid to pursue teaching credentials.
As an aspiring teacher, you are eligible for general financial aid too, but your pool of resources is instantly deepened by concerted efforts to bring qualified graduates to the profession. Government sources, professional associations and other private entities provide funding for grants and scholarships that serve education majors.
Teacher aid varies from performance based scholarships, to tuition-for-service agreements that require teaching commitments following graduation. Generally, grants are need-based and free of performance indicators. Scholarships, on the other hand, are often attached to eligibility standards like GPA. Both are free-money aid that doesn’t get paid back, so your bottom-line impact is the same.
State and Local Teaching Scholarships
Consult with your school’s financial aid office for up to date information about specific teaching scholarships in your area. If you’re just getting started in college, don’t overlook aid offered by your school or state. And if you’re nearing graduation, ask about scholarships that can be used to pay living expenses during your student teaching assignments.
While local teaching scholarships are often less rich than national awards, smaller applicant pools make them less competitive. Combine these smaller awards with larger scholarships to piece together your financial aid package.
- Milwaukee Area Teachers Scholarship - Marquette university supports working teachers with this tuition credit. If you are employed as a Wisconsin teacher, Marquette pays for half of a college class you take each semester. The flexible award does not require degree candidacy or other enrollment requirements, and is an example of one type of continuing education incentive available to teachers.
- West Virginia college students are eligible for Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarships, which can amount to $5000 annually. This example of tuition-for-service financial aid requires each recipient to work within the West Virginia school system for a period of two years for each year the scholarship is received. The teaching commitment is reduced to one-year, provided the teacher is employed at a high-need shortage-area school.
- Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, through its T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Wisconsin, is in the business of granting tailor-made tuition solutions to deserving, committed Wisconsin education professionals. The association has doled-out over 7000 scholarships since 1999, to aid professional development in early childhood education.
- Teachers of Tomorrow is a New York City Department of Education program devoted to recruiting qualified staffers to teach in the city’s most challenging schools. Tuition reimbursement and other incentives are used to bring qualified professionals to faculty positions at New York’s highest-need schools.
- Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority offers college aid to full-time, resident students pursuing teaching credentials within the state. Students who are juniors and beyond are eligible for up to $2500 each semester, under this program. When funding permits, freshmen and sophomores also qualify for scholarships.
- Corporate sponsors generously fund college scholarships for students studying primary and secondary education. The Coca-Cola Foundation supports education at international universities through its Coca-Cola Scholars initiative. Schools like Emory University use Coke dollars to fund scholarship programs for would-be teachers.
National Teaching Scholarships
National scholarships for education majors target future teachers, sometimes showing preference toward candidates studying in specific subject areas. These scholarships include:
- The Federal Government is the largest source of general financial aid, but Uncle Sam also runs programs targeting specific vocational pursuits. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH) is a government initiative aimed at recruiting college graduates to teach in under-served areas.. Individual states run similar tuition-for-service programs that require students who receive assistance to work in specific jobs following graduation. TEACH recipients are each eligible for up to $4000 annually, in exchange for a four-year teaching commitment at a school that serves low-income students.
- AFCEA is an international organization dedicated to the ethical exchange of information. This IT and communications association provides scholarships annually, to students earning an education in the field of teaching. Each year, 50 students who pursue STEM-related teaching degrees are awarded scholarships valued at $5000 each. Graduate and undergraduates are considered for the scholarships, which require a 3.0 GPA.
- Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship is administered as an institutional program that provides funding to colleges, which they in turn distribute to worthy candidates pursuing education degrees. The awards specifically target K-12 educators teaching in math and science disciplines.
- Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Education Advancement Foundation furthers the sorority’s mission to promote educational excellence through several scholarship programs for member-students. The foundation devotes a certain portion of its scholarship funding to students who are education majors.
- The Phi Delta Kappa International Education Foundation awards scholarships of up to $1,000 annually, to high school seniors and current undergraduates pursuing careers in elementary or secondary education. PDK sponsors the Future Educators Association, administering more than 30 scholarships each year – exclusively for future teachers.
- National Board for Professional Teaching Standards offers its own scholarships for teachers. in many cases, awards are funded by private enterprise, including Liberty Mutual insurance, Boeing and Chase.
- Montessori is a teaching philosophy and educational movement dedicated to a core set of teaching principles. Students who wish to become Montessori teachers are encouraged by the American Montessori Society, through a series of education scholarships for attending AMS schools. Awards vary, but the society’s Zell Scholarship is worth $1000 annually.
- Bright Horizons Family Solutions, the world’s leading provider of employer-sponsored early care, offers four Bright Futures Scholarships worth $2,500 each, for full-time students currently pursuing degrees in early childhood education. Applicants must each submit an essay, resume, transcript, and letters of recommendation.
Teachers act as role models for a diverse student body, so qualified educators must be drawn from a wide cross-section of cultures and social groups. Some teaching scholarships specifically promote diversity by offering incentives to minorities and other groups that are under-represented in the field of education.
- The Hispanic Scholarship Fund partners with corporations and other donors to break down educational barriers for Latino students. Wells-Fargo and other big-name benefactors work with HSF to promote Hispanic education through scholarships and other initiatives that support education. HSF scholarship applications are submitted online.
- NAACP issues education scholarships to teaching students. Awards change periodically, but the organization recently awarded Sutton Education Scholarships worth $1000 to undergraduates, and $2000 to master’s degree candidates.
- The Siemens Foundation has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and the United Negro College Fund to award scholarships to undergraduate and graduate education students attending historically black colleges and universities. Preference is given to applicants pursuing math and science teaching credentials.
- The National Federation of the Blind Educator of Tomorrow Scholarship is worth $3,000 to a blind recipient planning a career in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary teaching. The scholarship is awarded based on the applicant’s record of scholastic excellence, financial need and community involvement.
Scholarships are bundled with other financial aid, including grants for teachers and student loans. And if you are a would-be teacher, who is also female, you might be eligible for women’s scholarships and grants.