Of the many career paths open to higher education students, there are few more selfless than going into elementary education. A field that is often under-appreciated despite its unquestionable importance, elementary education always could use more teachers that devote their lives to the betterment of young people. Teachers have the opportunity to impact a life forever; my mother still remembers the second-grade teacher who encouraged her to follow her dream and become a writer. When she published her first book, my mother reached out to her former teacher, who had been proudly following her career, having changed someone’s life with a simple comment. It’s stories like this that attract education majors to the profession in the first place; the hope that you can change the lives of your students. Here are some scholarship options for young elementary education majors to help financially while you follow your dreams:
Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation
Deadline: October 31, 2017
Purveyor of one of the world’s most recognized brands, the Coca-Cola Company sponsors many initiatives dedicated to spreading education and philanthropy around the globe. Among their many programs designed to give a hand to those in need is the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which draws in students of all walks of life and sends them out around the world to help kids in developing countries.
While not limited to education majors, aspiring teachers make up a large portion of applicants for obvious reasons; the combination of experience, charity and worldliness is attractive to any potential employer. 150 students are chosen from the pool of applicants to receive the scholarships, which look for leadership qualities in their awardees. Once awarded the scholarship, students decide the best way to use their new status as a Coca-Cola scholar to impact the global community. Many in the most recent class traveled to Haiti to teach local children and assist in building houses. While there is no hard and fast career path taken by Coca-Cola Scholars after receiving the award, many of the testimonials on the award’s homepage are from men and women who went on to become teachers, solidifying this scholarship’s status as a great assist to budding educators.
Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program
Deadline: September 5, 2017
The first of two scholarships devoted to teachers of STEM fields, the Noyce Scholarship was founded in 2002 to address the lack of education majors focused on science, technology, engineering, and math. Today, the program is one of the more successful and well-known when it comes to K-12 education scholarships. To be eligible for a Noyce Scholarship, science education majors must commit to two years’ work for each year they seek the scholarship in a school in a low-income area, where there’s a huge lack of science teachers. Noyce Scholars fill this need through their knowledge of science and math, which is cultivated in their studies. The program mainly focuses around recruiting people into teaching that were considering a career in a different field, such as math or science.
AFCEA STEM Teacher Graduate Scholarships
Deadline: April 22, 2017
The alphabet-soup-like name of the AFCEA STEAM Scholarship stands for—are you ready?— Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Scholarship. No wonder they brand it with the acronym. Either way, the AFCEA STEM Scholarship is similar to the Noyce Scholarship in that it focuses on helping low-income areas find science and math teachers. The main difference is that the AFCEA STEM scholarship is geared towards graduate students, while the Noyce Scholarship is for undergrads. To be eligible, applicants must be graduate students—and US citizens—who major in education and have a GPA of at least 3.5. Upon graduation, AFCEA STEM scholars are encouraged to work in low-income schools and are usually assisted in placement by local AFCEA chapters.
Deadline: October 1, 2017
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant, which goes by the convenient acronym TEACH, is a unique award that elementary education majors should definitely look into. The TEACH Grant has a different set of circumstances than most scholarships, which are spelled out on its website.
The Grant, it says, will turn into a loan (meaning you have to pay the government back) unless certain conditions are met, like taking a specific set of classes and working in a school you’re placed in. Either way, a majority of students are able to meet the grant’s qualifications, so it may not be an issue. The grant awards $4,000 a year to elementary education majors who are eligible under the FAFSA program. In exchange, you’d commit to teach in a low-income school upon graduation. TEACH Grants are among the most popular financial awards for education majors, so if you’re planning on going down this route, it’s important to fully understand the process and commit to helping the people that helped you.
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