Tenn. bill could cover all education costs for minority students pursuing teaching careers

tennessee capitol hill
Posted at 9:34 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 10:34:46-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee House's Higher Education Subcommittee is set to discuss a bill that could fully cover tuition and fees for some students pursuing a career in teaching.

Right now, the fellowship awards are $5,000 per year for students at certain Tennessee universities who are working towards being a teacher.

"The Minority Teaching Fellows Program is intended to encourage talented minority Tennesseans to enter the teaching field in Tennessee. The award is $5,000 per year for students who pursue a teacher certification at an eligible Tennessee college or university," the state's website said.

Currently, award recipients must teach at a Tennessee school for one year for each year they accept the money.

"If recipients do not meet this obligation the award must be repaid to TSAC. Repayment will begin if the recipient does not complete the plan of study or is not employed at an eligible Pre-K through 12 eligible school. When a repayment schedule is reached, the interest accrues at 9% from the date of graduation or withdrawal date from the program," the state's website said.

In order to be eligible for the fellowship award, applicants must be:

  • A minority Tennessee resident and a U.S. citizen
  • Classified as a college junior, senior, or graduate student
  • A full-time undergraduate student enrolled in courses creditable to teacher certification or at least a half-time graduate student enrolled in courses creditable to teacher certification
  • Possess a 2.50 cumulative GPA or higher if required by the teacher education program at the student’s institution of higher education
  • Not be a licensed teacher

The bill in its current state changes the amount given for fellowship awards.

Each award would cover tuition and fees for students enrolled in a four-year public university of their choice, as long as they are in an approved educator preparation program.

If they are enrolled in a private school, they would be eligible for $5,000.

These awards can be renewed three times, but it is contingent on the student's academic process.