CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Five North Carolina schools have been selected as partner institutions for a new initiative aimed at supporting students preparing for a teaching career in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math or special education. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina State University, Elon University and Meredith College will serve as hosts for the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year.
The program was established to recruit, prepare and support students attending North Carolina's top education programs for preparation as highly effective STEM or special education teachers in the state's public schools. Students participating in the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program will receive up to $8,250 per year in forgivable loans if they commit to teach in a STEM or a special education area. The program is specifically designed to attract high-quality teachers to low-performing schools by offering an accelerated loan forgiveness schedule for Teaching Fellows who agree to teach in a low-performing school in North Carolina.
“I congratulate these five great institutions on being selected as partner campuses for the Teaching Fellows Program," said Dr. Junius Gonzales, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of North Carolina. “This new program will help recruit and retain high-quality teachers to areas of critical need in North Carolina."
The five institutions were selected by the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission based on the criteria outlined in state law, including educator effectiveness, impact on student learning, passage rates for required licensure exams, early and frequent internship experiences for educator prep students, among other factors.
The Commission, which was formally appointed in September, is comprised of four deans from educator preparation programs, teachers, principals, a member from business and industry and a local school board member. The NC Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, Superintendent of the Year, Chair of the State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) Board of Directors and Director of the Teaching Fellows Program all serve as ex-officio members of the Commission.
North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program Highlights:
- The application for prospective Teaching Fellows will be made available in early December.
- The amount of the forgivable loan is up to $8,250.
- Any student with a high school, associates or bachelor's degree is eligible. Even students who wish to transfer or change their majors are eligible.
- Teachers have 10 years to pay back the loan, either through cash repayment or loan forgiveness. In order to meet the loan forgiveness requirement, a teacher is required to serve one year in a low-performing school or two years in another public school for every year they were awarded a forgivable loan.
- The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program provides scholarships to roughly 160 future teachers per year.