UA Launching Teacher Internship Scholarship as a Pilot Program

Feb 16, 2023 | Education, News

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todd paris | uaf

The University of Alaska (UA) is launching a new pilot program to offset the financial burden of teacher internships. The UA Teacher Internship Scholarship pays for tuition, fees, and a $10,000 stipend to offset living expenses.

An Apple for Interns

Aspiring teachers completing their unpaid full-time internship, or student teaching year, have little time to work an outside job. For many, that becomes a barrier to completing their teacher licensure program.

“Alaska’s aspiring educators cannot train for free,” says Amy Vinlove, dean of UAF School of Education.

The university has dedicated $1 million of funding for this pilot scholarship program and is expecting to award up to thirty student teachers in the next year. Current and prospective students in the final years of UA System teacher licensure programs who meet eligibility requirements can now apply; the deadline for priority consideration is April 15, 2023, with awards to be announced in early May.

Year-long teacher internships are a critical component of the high-quality teacher education programs offered through all three schools of education in the UA System, providing invaluable hands-on training and experience in the classroom. Under the guidance of a qualified mentor teacher, internship allows future teachers to experience a school year from beginning to end, practicing skills from their concurrent coursework.

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The Teacher Internship Scholarship is offered through all three schools of education for eligible undergraduate and graduate students to use during their full-time internships. Undergraduate students in their final two years (60 credits) of their UA System preparation program are eligible for full tuition support and a $10,000 living stipend during their final full-time internship year. Graduate students enrolled in a licensure program are also eligible for tuition support and a $10,000 living stipend.

“Addressing the affordability barrier to high-quality teacher preparation allows all districts and all schools access to well-prepared teachers and increases the diversity of candidates entering the teaching profession,” Vinlove says. “Local teachers stay in the district, so investments in their training stay in the community.”

The university says teachers prepared through a year-long internship are three times more likely to still teach in the classroom after three years than those in fast-track or emergency licensure programs. Supporting Alaskan students in becoming teachers reduces a district’s need to incur the high cost of recruiting from outside Alaska and increases the likelihood of multiple-year retention.

The scholarship has a similar goal as, but is structured differently from, the Earn While You Learn Program that pays nursing students. That program is funded by the State Training and Employment Program and administered by the Alaska Hospital and Healthcare Association.

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