NASHVILLE– With the nationwide teacher shortage projected to nearly double in less than a decade, Western Governors University (WGU), parent university of WGU Tennessee, hopes to help more prospective teachers find their passion in the classroom with the $2,500 Become a Teacher Scholarship.
According to the Economic Policy Institution, the U.S. teacher shortage could reach 200,000 by 2025, up from 110,000 in 2018. WGU’s innovative approach to higher education is a highly effective way for paraprofessionals, career changers, stay-at-home parents, and others looking to become full-time teachers to fit a teacher licensure program into their lives.
“WGU continues to be a trailblazer in identifying and meeting Tennessee’s workforce needs,” said Dr. Kimberly Estep, chancellor of WGU Tennessee. “Tennessee educators are integral to the growth of our communities, and with the addition of this scholarship, we can continue to serve our students across the state.”
Competency-based, nonprofit WGU Tennessee offers 16 programs that lead to teacher licensure: 10 bachelor’s degrees, five master’s degrees, and one post-baccalaureate certification. The WGU Teachers College, accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) and recognized in all 50 states, is the nation’s top producer of STEM teachers and an active partner of school districts and states around the country looking to increase the number of qualified educators. The Become a Teacher Scholarship will help more aspiring teachers earn their license and answer the call of the classroom.
The scholarship, worth up to $2,500 per student, launched this week and will accept applications through Dec. 31. Recipients will be awarded $625 per six-month term—renewable up to four terms—toward any program leading to a teacher certification. That comes out to more than 15% off WGU’s already-low tuition.
Since WGU Tennessee’s launch in 2013, there have been a total of 1,256 graduates from the WGU Teachers College and 997 currently enrolled. Designed to meet the needs of adult learners, WGU Tennessee’s competency-based learning model allows students to take advantage of their knowledge and experience to move quickly through material they already know, so they can focus on what they still need to learn.
“After earning a degree in chemical engineering and working in sales and marketing for 35 years, I decided I wanted to use my knowledge to teach high school science,” said Arby Dickert, an alumnus of WGU Tennessee. “I was able to earn a degree and complete demonstration teaching in less than a year and was quickly hired to teach at a high school where I live in Knoxville.”
Students complete their programs by studying with schedules that fit their lives, advancing as soon as they demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. WGU faculty members work one-on-one with students as mentors, offering guidance, support, and individualized instruction. While WGU’s degree programs are rigorous and challenging, competency-based learning makes it possible for students to accelerate their progress, saving both time and money. The majority of coursework is completed online, with in-classroom observation and demonstration teaching completed in a local school.
To learn more or to apply, visit the WGU Become a Teacher Scholarship webpage.
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 117,000 students nationwide and has more than 157,000 graduates. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 22 years, the university has become a leading influence in the development of innovative workforce-focused approaches to education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, and CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.