In an effort to ease the state’s increasing demand for teachers, Western Governors University is offering up to $4,000 scholarships for its nationally recognized Teachers College to Oklahomans who want to become teachers.
The “Become a Teacher” scholarship was designed to alleviate the financial burden for paraprofessionals or other aspiring teachers and to meet the increasing demand for quality teachers.
Last year, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister estimated there are more than 30,000 people certified but who aren’t teaching in an Oklahoma public school.
Yet, there were nearly 600 unfilled teaching positions in Oklahoma this past school year — higher than in each of the last four years, according to the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.
Another 1,666 positions were filled by emergency certified teachers, most of whom do not have a degree in education. In addition, many Oklahoma school districts are facing a substitute teacher shortage in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Western Governors University was founded in 1976 by 19 governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality affordable college education online.
Since its founding, it established a Teachers College with a strong reputation for producing qualified teachers.
For example, in 2014, the National Council on Teacher Quality gave WGU’s Teachers College top honors for secondary teacher preparation among 2,400 programs nationwide. The college is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
With a competency-based curriculum, students complete courses as soon as they can prove mastery of the material, making it possible to graduate faster. Additionally, tuition is per term rather than per credit or course, which enables students to save both time and money.
The scholarship program provides recipients with $2,500 in scholarship funds distributed at $625 per six-month term for up to four terms, as well as an additional $1,500 stipend during student teaching. These funds can be applied toward any of WGU’s Teachers College degree programs leading to teacher licensure.
According to WGU, the college’s tuition for teaching degree programs is about $6,400 per year, around $3,600 less than schools with comparable programs.
For those interested in applying for a “Be a Teacher” scholarship, visit wgu.edu/beateacher.