The state of Alabama is offering millions in scholarship money to attract students into the field of education.
The move is an effort to address the shortage of teachers in the state.
The state says the scholarship money would be available to students who are willing to make a four year commitment to Alabama’s public schools.
Tuesday, we spoke with officials and students at Troy University to find out if they think this move by the state will help alleviate the shortage.
Two million dollars; that's what the state of Alabama is offering in scholarship money to perspective teaching students.
One hundred student's entering this year's freshman class will be awarded $20,000 dollars in scholarships to attend the College of Education.
Students must agree to teach math, science, english, arts or special education for the next four years in Alabama after certification. Is the offer enough to fill the gap?
“I think it's a great incentive. It’s long overdue for our students here at the College of Education as a whole,” said Karen McGahee, coordinator at Troy Teacher's Education Program in Dothan.
The state is also handing out up to 60 scholarships worth up to $6000 each for people who already have a degree, but would like to go back to school to become teachers.
Officials at Troy say while that will help, salary is still an issue in Alabama.
McGahee adds, “The problems that we face are recruitment from our neighboring states of our graduates, due to higher salaries. So, I think salaries are going to be a challenge we must overcome.”
Some students say the state's offer will help provide educational funds to a field that is lacking in availability of scholarships.
Education Student Robyn Reisnour said, “I think it's super; the scholarships are so hard to come by and the information is just not really out there for us to apply for.”
And, students say a passion for education is the true motivating factor for students who want to teach.
Matt Davis, another education student said, “I believe for right now, the main purpose of a teacher is to teach our youth and that's what we should keep our minds on.”
Troy University officials say their numbers for education majors enrolled in programs leading to certification remain steady at over 2000 students between the four campuses.
They say they have room for more students in the program and that it is one of the most popular majors on campus.
This is the first year Alabama has offered this type of scholarship; however, educators aren't sure if the money will be available in 2009 because of possible budget cuts.