Scholarship Focuses on Attracting, 'Uplifting' Teachers

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The deadline to apply for a program that could pay prospective teachers $30,000 in scholarships is looming. Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers says the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship is a way the state can grow more of its own teachers, especially in rural areas. The scholarship was approved by the General Assembly earlier this year. It offers students who become teachers $7,500 per year toward their bachelor's degree if they get hired by an Indiana school and stay in-state and in the profession for at least five years.

Lubbers tells Inside INdiana Business Television another objective of the program is to "uplift the profession." She said "there's a companion piece to this, a complimentary piece to what we're trying to do. In addition to providing scholarships for people so that they will go into the field of education and won't have debt when they leave, we also want to uplift the profession of teaching so that more people will think of it as a meaningful career, which we know it is."

Lubbers says shortages exist for STEM and special education teachers and she hopes programs like the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship and other initiatives taken on by the commission can attract more teachers to rural areas, which are also in-demand. "We know that about 61 percent of people who go into education teach within 15 miles of the district from which they graduate, so when you look at especially some of these rural areas, this is the best way to get people to come back."

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-88) authored the bill that launched the program. The legislature set aside $10 million for the program.

Applications are being accepted now and the deadline to apply is December 31.

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