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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU College of Education receives state help to fund scholarships for aspiring teachers

Faced with the rising number of teacher vacancies throughout New Mexico, state policy makers are addressing the issue by providing funds to help aspiring teachers pay for their college tuition.



Aracely Estrada, far left, a current educational assistant, works with students during University Hills Elementary School’s afterschool program. Seated on the floor with students is former educational assistant Vanessa Loya. Educational assistants who are completing teacher programs and plan to become licensed teachers in New Mexico may qualify to receive scholarships at New Mexico State University as part of two acts passed by the state legislature this year. (NMSU courtesy photo)

As part of the Teacher Preparation Affordability Act and the Grow Your Own Teachers Act, New Mexico State University has received $700,000 in funds to provide scholarships to students studying to become teachers, as well as area educational assistants who are completing teacher programs and plan to become licensed teachers in New Mexico.

Susan Brown, NMSU College of Education interim dean, said the scholarships will be awarded to sophomores, juniors and seniors in the college. In the spring, second-semester freshmen who are 120 days from having received their high school diploma will qualify for funds as well.

“These scholarships will help reduce the cost for teachers to earn licensure, which will allow early career teachers an opportunity to take home more money and not have a lot of student loans,” said Henrietta Williams Pichon, NMSU College of Education interim associate dean for academic affairs.

In all, the New Mexico Higher Education Department is making $10 million in scholarships available to students in colleges and universities throughout the state. The state legislature passed the Grow Your Own Teachers Act earlier this year, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Teacher Preparation Affordability Act into law in March.

“We need teachers in all areas of the state and at all grade levels. We need Hispanic, Native, first-generation, returning, veterans, bilingual and alternative licensure applicants for these scholarships,” New Mexico Higher Education Secretary Kate O’Neill said in a statement announcing the funding. “Now is the time for students to take advantage of these resources to further their dreams of becoming teachers.”

According to a report by researchers in the NMSU College of Education, there were 740 teacher vacancies in New Mexico last year, compared to 476 teacher vacancies in 2017. The college is working on several initiatives to address teacher vacancies in the state. The college also houses the Alternative Licensure Program, which features a program of study approved by the New Mexico Public Education Department that leads to an initial teacher licensure through online and in-person courses. Program participants may obtain a license in elementary, secondary or special education in New Mexico.

For more information about the College of Education at NMSU, visit https://education.nmsu.edu.