Funding Your Education

ASO Staff Writers
Updated September 20, 2023
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Scholarships, Grants and Financial Aid for Aspiring Educators

Teachers can change the lives of students and families, making teaching one of the most important yet challenging careers out there. Qualified teachers are in demand across the country, with many communities experiencing a shortage. Unfortunately, the rising cost of college tuition can pose challenges for those wishing to become educators. However, there are several funding options for future teachers, including scholarships, grants and forgivable loans. Read on to find out how to ease the burden of paying for an education or teaching degree.

National Scholarships for Aspiring Teachers

Ideally, students pursuing a teaching degree can get their college education without going deep into debt. Since education is considered an important field, many national scholarships are available specifically to students pursuing a teaching degree. The following graphic shows scholarships that may help teaching majors across the nation afford their college degrees. Browse scholarships by amount, enrollment level and eligibility requirements below.

plusThe UCT Heaston Scholarships

Amount: $3,000-$6,000 (renewable for four years)

plusSILA Foundation Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

plusGates Millennium Scholars

Amount: Maximum of $10,000

plusRichard M. Weaver Fellowship and Henry Salvatori Fellowship

Amount: $5,000-$15,000

plusSTEM Teacher Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Regional Scholarships for Aspiring Teachers

Not all scholarships are national; some are designated for students of a specific region, state or college. Such regional scholarships for prospective teachers can be found with a little extra digging. One benefit of applying for regional teaching scholarships is that the applicant pool is smaller. Students hoping to find regional teaching scholarships can search for opportunities at their college financial aid office, state-specific teaching organizations, or local community organizations. The following graphic shows some examples of regional scholarships for teachers.

plusWilliam A. Crawford Minority Teacher Scholarship Application

Amount: Varies

plusD214 National Louis Scholarship

Amount: Full tuition (renewable for four years)

Scholarships for Non-Teaching Education Majors

Several opportunities exist for roles in education aside from teaching, such as administrators, curriculum developers, school counselors, school librarians and child development specialists. These jobs typically require a master’s degree, and often those holding them start their careers as teachers. Below are some scholarships available to education students looking for careers outside of teaching:

plusLeon Bradley Scholarship

Amount: $1,500- $2,500

plusEducational Administration Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

plusPredoctoral Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Fellowship

Amount: Varies

plusE.J., Esther and Patricia Spomer Scholarship

Amount: $533

plusThe Carroll Wade McGuffey Scholarship

Amount: Varies

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Advice for Landing a Teaching Scholarship

To maximize their chances of earning scholarships, education and teaching students should apply for a variety of scholarships that fit their individual needs. Organizations funding the scholarships generally share all essential information on their websites, including downloadable applications, submissions deadlines and contact information. Following instructions, submitting all documents on time, and writing a great essay are all essential components in the application process. Below are tips to help education and teaching students secure a scholarship:

Scholarship Tips

  1. 1

    Know where to search

    Once you start your research, you will find there are many scholarships available — some general, and some specific to education or teaching degrees. Many scholarship search websites can help by narrowing down your search and finding the ones you qualify for. Looking at your school website’s scholarship section or talking to a financial aid counselor can also help. For teaching students, college education departments may have scholarships available only to students pursuing a degree in education.

  2. 2

    Stay organized

    To apply for scholarships, it’s important to stay organized. Typically, you will need high school or college transcripts, income verification or FAFSA information, proof of citizenship and proof of acceptance or enrollment at an approved college. Often, you will need to answer a series of questions or write an essay on a specified topic, and may need to get a resume together as well as letters of recommendation from employers or faculty members. Gathering these documents as early as possible will reduce stress and enable you to meet application deadlines.

  3. 3

    Prioritize FAFSA

    Many scholarships are based on financial need, so proof of income and resources may be a required component of the scholarship application. The first step in providing financial information is usually the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be completed online. Most need-based scholarships require this form, even if they are privately funded. Other documents, such as proof of income for students and/or their parents may also be required, such as tax returns or earnings statement, so make sure these are done close to the beginning of the year.

  4. 4

    Ask for relevant letters of recommendation

    Students may be required to submit letters of recommendations with scholarship applications. If the scholarship committee does not specify who should write the letter, it’s best to ask a person who can speak to your interest in education or teaching. The best people for this may be teachers, counselors, or advisors of extracurricular activities who can emphasize your academic involvement as well as your personal strengths that are relevant to teaching.

  5. 5

    Nail the essay

    Essays are a common requirement for securing a scholarship, and perhaps the most important part of your application, since it is a chance to let the scholarship committee know about your passion for the field and why you deserve the award. Make sure to submit an essay that properly answers the prompt and illustrates your skills and future aspirations in teaching and education.

  6. 6

    Resume and work experience

    Many applications for scholarships will ask for a resume or may ask you to list your accomplishments, extracurricular activities, job history, volunteer work and community involvement. This is a great opportunity to showcase your leadership skills, and highlight work, extracurricular and volunteer experiences relevant to teaching and education.

  7. 7

    Ask for help

    The job of finding scholarships can be overwhelming as students prepare to enter college. You can ask for help from friends, family, school counselors and financial aid officers to help with your search. At a minimum, asking for help proofreading application, resumes and essays can go a long way for potential scholarship seekers.

Other Ways to Pay for Education and Teaching Degrees

In addition to scholarships, there are grants, loans and programs available to ease the burden of paying for a teaching degree. Here are some examples of other financial aid options students and education professionals can use to pay for school:

TEACH Grants

AmeriCorps and Teach for America

Troops to Teachers

Student Loans

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers

Loan forgiveness is when a federal loan is discharged under certain circumstances. Two loan forgiveness programs available through the federal government require participants to work in public service or teach for a specified amount of time in exchange for reducing their student debt.

Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

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