How a Career in Education Can Pay For College
Students who choose to study teaching and education in college are choosing to take on a noble profession: the importance of capable, creative and dedicated teachers in schools cannot be overestimated. And while grants and are becoming difficult to find, there are some valuable resources available specifically for people interested in teaching at all levels of education.
Putting in the effort to find grants and scholarships for your teaching degree will pay off in the long run — the less debt you have after graduation, the easier it will be for you to pursue your teaching career without worrying about paying off student loans.
Federal and State Opportunities
There are several federal and state programs designed to help education students graduate with less debt. Each of these programs puts an emphasis on teachers serving “high-need” schools, so students must agree to take certain teaching jobs after graduation. These schools are typically in inner-city or low-income neighborhoods where the students don't get the same educational opportunities as students from higher-income areas.
Not only will placement in these schools help you alleviate your student debt, but it will give you a unique and rewarding teaching opportunity that will allow you to positively impact the lives of impressionable children.
Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers
For students who have already taken out Federal Stafford Loans, this program offers up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness for qualified teachers who work in low-income areas for five consecutive years.
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant
TEACH, established in 2007, provides up to $4000 per year for undergraduate students and up to $8000 per year for graduate students. Students must agree to teach math, science, foreign languages, or special education for at least four years within eight years of graduating.
Improving Teacher Quality State Grant
State programs vary, but the Improving Teacher Quality State Grant provides states with funds to help increase and maintain the number of teachers and administrators in schools recognized as being “high-need.”
Public and Private Opportunities
Colleges and Universities
Make sure to check with your school to see if their education program offers grant or scholarship opportunities. Many higher-level learning institutions provide students with the chance to earn tuition funding, depending on your concentration, your returning student status, and your income level.
It is definitely worth your time to look into local non-profit groups in your area and explore the different opportunities they have available for tuition assistance. Organizations like Urban League and the NAACP offer regional scholarships for students interested in teaching.
Corporations and Companies
As part of their efforts to give back to the community, larger businesses often offer programs dedicated to providing tuition help for aspiring teachers. You can research the companies and corporations in your area to see if any of them offer these types of opportunities. Companies like Coca-Cola and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, established by the Microsoft CEO and his wife, invest in educating students of all disciplines, though they concentrate on teachers as well.
Focus on Teaching, Forget About Finances
With the average salary for new teachers hovering below $40,000 a year, it’s important that teaching students find the best way to get an education without having to carry a financial burden with them after graduation. By searching for scholarships online, making connections with local companies and non-profit organizations, and taking advantage of federal and state grant funding opportunities, you’ll be able to go into your first teaching job prepared and able to concentrate on changing the lives of the students you teach.
Chi Norris is a writer and visual artist who likes painting, poetry, and reading memoirs. She graduated with a B.A. in English and writes on behalf of American InterContinental University's online MBA program. She also blogs for artroommelody.com.
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