Las Vegas, N.M.– The New Mexico Highlands University School of Education is offering $525,970 in teacher education scholarships, thanks to awards from two New Mexico Higher Education Department programs.
In its 2019 session, the New Mexico State Legislature approved $10 million for the Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship Act, with Highlands receiving $479,853. Also in 2019, the legislature approved $510,000 for the new Grow Your Own Teacher Act, with Highlands receiving $46,117.
“With both these scholarship programs we want to recruit, prepare and support the next generations of teachers,” said Carmen Lopez-Wilson, deputy secretary for the New Mexico Higher Education Department. “These scholarships will help address the widespread teacher shortage in New Mexico.”
The Highlands School of Education will post applications for the teacher education scholarships online in the middle of July at www.nmhu.edu/education. The scholarship programs begin in the fall semester 2019 and continue as long as legislative funding is available.
Both programs offer scholarships of up to $3,000 per semester for eligible applicants to help pay for college tuition, fees and books. To be eligible for the Teacher Preparation Affordability scholarship, applicants must be New Mexico residents, be accepted to the Highlands School of Education or another state or tribal institution, and must complete FAFSA, the free application for federal student aid. The requirements for the Grow Your Own Teacher scholarship are the same with the addition of United States citizenship.
The Grow Your Own Teacher program targets education assistants who are already working in New Mexico classrooms, giving them paid time off work to complete teacher degree requirements.
“The Teacher Preparation Affordability Scholarship program prioritizes awards to English language learners, minority students, and those who want to teach in high-need teaching positions,” Lopez-Wilson said.
Lopez-Wilson said she appreciates how the Highlands University regents, administration and School of Education are proactively using the scholarship opportunities to improve access and affordability to aspiring teachers.
Rodolfo Chávez with Highlands University’s Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations, said the teacher scholarship programs will help stimulate people moving up the career ladder in education, and also help the New Mexico economy grow due to their increased earnings.
“The Grow Your Own Teacher Act parallels a similar federal grant program called the 2+2 Career Ladder Teacher Licensure Program that Highlands has been implementing successfully for the last three years through the Center for the Education and Study of Diverse Populations,” said Chavez, who directs this National Professional Development federal grant.
“At Highlands, we’re really going to reach out to the historically underserved communities such as Native Americans and Hispanics to encourage them to become our future teachers in the state,” said Sheree Jederberg, interim dean of the Highlands School of Education. “These future teachers will help better reflect the student population in the state.”
Jederberg said it’s exciting for the Highlands School of Education to have the opportunity to work with these future teachers.
“This teacher scholarship program allows students to come into our traditional teacher preparation program or our new alternative licensure program, a fast track to earning a teaching license for those with bachelor’s degrees or higher,” Jederberg said.
Jederberg said a School of Education committee will review the applications and work with the Highlands Financial Aid Office to award the scholarships.