Graduate Degree Funding Opportunities for Teachers

mat elementary educationFor teachers, earning an advanced degree is the only way to get a sizable increase in salary. Yet a master’s degree offers more than just an increase it pay, it provides opportunities for leadership and opens doors for other positions within education. In addition, studies have shown that teachers who hold a master’s degree are more effective educators. There are many reasons why a teacher should pursue a master’s degree, but there is also one big obstacle that interferes with many teachers’ desire for a graduate degree – price.

When already on a fixed income, finding the extra funds for a graduate degree seems impossible. Since teachers are in such demand nationwide, you have funding options available to you that other students do not receive. Let’s discuss a few of these options.

 Scholarships

Since teachers are in such demand, there is a plethora of scholarships available ranging from $500 to full tuition coverage. A few examples of scholarships available to educators include:

  • EHHP Scholarships – approximately 30 scholarships available every year from the College of Charleston.
  • James Madison Graduate Fellowship – for anyone who wishes to teach the Constitution in high schools. It’s valued at $24,000 and is available to one person per state per year, meaning your only competition will be the other people in your state applying for it.
  • Nancy Larson Foundation – for anyone who wants to become an elementary school teacher. Each scholarship is valued at $1,000.
  • JCCs Graduate Education Scholarship – the Jewish Community Centers of North America awards up to five graduate students with $10,000 per year for one or two years.

This is only a small sampling of the multitude of scholarships available. If you take the time to do some research to find funding, there is no doubt you could get your graduate education funded. It might take multiple scholarships, but it is possible. However, as you can imagine, finding and applying for these scholarships requires a significant investment of your time. If you do not have the time for scholarships, grants and loans are a great option.

Grants

With a shortage of teachers nationwide, the federal government offers grants to help fund education degrees.

  • TEACH Grant – Receive up to $4,000 per year for your master’s degree as long as you teach a high need field in a low income area for specific amount of time after graduating.

There are other federal grants available, but they are not educator-specific and based on financial need.

Loans

The idea of taking out a student loan can be off-putting. The last thing you want to do is saddle yourself down with thousands of dollars worth of debt upon graduation. However, since schools are scrambling to get and retain teachers, the loans for funding an education degree are different than your typical student loan.

  • South Carolina Teacher Loan Program – The state of South Carolina offers graduate students  with loans up to $5,000 per year, which will be forgiven by teaching in a SC public school in a critical subject and critical geographic area.
  • Federal Stafford Loan – Up to $17,500 will be forgiven by teaching for 5 consecutive academic years in a low-income school.

Funding should not be what prevents you from pursuing your dreams of becoming a teacher. Whether you already have your certification or are looking to get your certification, the College of Charleston has a master’s program for you. And, if you are looking for a quick career change, our Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education is a fast-track program in which you can earn your degree in only 13 months. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about our graduate programs or the funding options available.

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