Attracting Students to Teaching

Connexeo - 07/16/2018

Help wanted: Teachers. Grant money available to educate and recruit.


While many states are becoming flexible about certification requirements and taking other steps to reduce the teacher shortage afflicting the nation, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and several universities have established grant, scholarship and student-loan forgiveness programs designed to attract new teachers to the field.

The DOE programs apply to educators who teach a subject designated by a state department of education to have had a teacher shortage in their state in the 2016-17 school year.
The benefits fall under four categories:


  • Those who took out Federal Perkins Loans and who now teach math, science, foreign languages, bilingual education or any other subject deemed to have a qualified-teacher shortage can have 100% of their Perkins loan forgiven.
  • Students who received a scholarship under the Paul Douglas (or Congressional) Teacher Scholarship Program can have their teaching requirement reduced from two years to one year if they teach in a field of shortage. However, since the scholarship has not been awarded since the 1996-97 school year, the number of recipients affected is likely very few.
  • Those who received a Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant can fulfill the teaching requirement by teaching in any field of shortage. TEACH grant recipients must teach for four years, within eight years of graduation, in a school that serves low-income families.

This link provides further information and the list of teacher shortages by subject in each state.

Meanwhile, universities are using outside grants to help encourage students to take up teaching as a profession. Some examples:

  • The National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program awarded $1 million to Texas A&M University-Commerce for “Preparing a Community of Outstanding STEM Teachers for Rural and Urban Northeast Texas.” The initiative aims to recruit and prepare 32 students over five years to teach secondary physics, chemistry, biology and math in high-need school districts in Northeast Texas.
  • The Noyce program has been busy. It also awarded West Virginia University a $75,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s to fund a one-year project that will develop a new master’s degree program in secondary education, an article in The State Journal reported. The Mountaineer Mathematics Master Teachers program’s goal is to establish a pipeline of secondary math teachers who can also act in leadership roles.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education awarded a total of about $2 million to eight universities to develop and implement yearlong residency programs for teachers and principals. Implementation/expansion grants will go to Drexel University ($710,275), Indiana University of Pennsylvania ($578,038) and Robert Morris University ($157,364). Planning grants are earmarked for Cabrini University ($74,688), Lehigh University ($56,771), Millersville University ($75,000), Penn State-Harrisburg ($74,726) and the University of Pennsylvania ($74,575). The residencies must be executed in high-need school districts.
  • The Colorado Department of Higher Education gave a total of $300,000 from a federal grant to seven colleges and universities to help combat teacher shortages in rural school districts. The selected colleges have established relationships with Colorado’s 147 rural districts, and the program will focus on recruiting local students to become teachers, providing rural field work for education students and increasing professional development for teachers and administrators in rural districts. The University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Adams State University are among the universities participating.

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