Finding Teaching Scholarships: Where to Look
As of 2009, there were over 7 million teachers in US schools. Of those, more than three million worked in elementary and middle school; the rest could be found in secondary, postsecondary, preschool, and kindergarten positions—as well as in special education. The median salary for this position is just over $50,000 for year—not a lot for a tough job that requires a lot of education.
While specific requirements vary by state, all public school teachers are required to have professional certification as well as a Bachelor’s—and some states require teachers to work toward a Masters. Good thing there are scholarships for teachers. Here’s where to find them.
Some online colleges offer scholarships particularly for students who want a career in education. For instance, the University of Alabama the University of Oregon, and the University of Kansas all offer scholarships to students in the schools’ education programs, of varying amounts of money. Check with your
school to see if there are any specific scholarships for education students.
Funding your continuing teaching education isn’t easy. But you shouldn’t have to pay full freight or take out a lot of loans
Some private organizations offer scholarships at the national level, while some do it at the local level. National-level scholarships typically offer more money, but are tougher to land—because the competition pool is larger. Check out the AKA Educational Advancement Foundation, the American Montessori Society, the NAACP’s Lillian and Samuel Sutton Education Scholarship, or the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund as a place to start.
Your state or local government may offer scholarships or loan cancellation agreements to students willing to teach in the state or area after graduation. For instance, California, Iowa, Texas, and New York offer loan forgiveness programs.
The federal government will also forgive your Stafford loans or cancel your Perkins loans if you become a teacher.
Some school districts—particularly those in high-needs areas, or districts looking to hire teachers in in-demand specialties—will offer loan forgiveness to teachers who are not yet certified or who haven’t yet earned a Masters degree. If you have a Bachelor’s, it’s possible you could have part or all of the cost of your certification forgiven if you teach in a certain area where you’re especially needed.
Some private companies have scholarships especially for teachers. These scholarships may be open to anyone, or they may be geared toward minorities, those in a certain specialty, or only employees and family members of employees. It may help you to do some research on companies that your family members work for to see if they offer these types of scholarships.
Some professional associations support would-be teachers with scholarships—such as the Bright Horizons and Phi Delta Kappa teaching scholarships for prospective educators in varying specialties.
You should never pay for access to scholarship databases. The best ones are free online—including FinAid, FastWeb, and the College Board. These websites aren’t geared specifically toward students who want to be teachers, but chances are you’ll be able to search for those types of scholarships easily here.
Funding your continuing teaching education isn’t easy. But you shouldn’t have to pay full freight or take out a lot of loans—not when there are so many opportunities for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs out there. Look for scholarships at your college, with your school district, and with your government—they’re all likely to have some kind of program that could help. There are also plenty of private organizations seeking to fund teacher education. The more research you do, the more likely it will be that you can find a scholarship to suit your needs.
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