GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The North Carolina Teaching Fellows program announced a new partnership with North Carolina A&T State University on Monday.
“We are extremely excited to welcome in a new class of teaching fellows,” said Dr. Paula Groves Price, the dean of the NC A&T College of Education. “We have been waiting for this for a while.”
Price told FOX8 the new partnership will help the college recruit top students who want to be educators, expand enrollment and prepare more diverse teachers for local classrooms.
“I think students today really want to go to an institution where they feel like they have a sense of belonging,” she said.
Teachers are needed in classrooms across the state.
“We have significant teaching shortages,” Price said. “There’s an even greater shortage or discrepancy between the students who are in our public schools in terms of their ethnic and cultural background and linguistic background and the teachers who are currently teaching them.”
The NC Teaching Fellows program is focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) or special education programs for public schools. It is an area Price thinks will grow at NC A&T State University.
“We do not have large number of stem teachers that are in our pipeline,” she said.
The program loans up to $4,125 per semester or $8,250 a year for four years for prospective teachers.
“Teaching is one of those majors and one of the professions that has a lot of costs,” Price said.
The loans are forgiven if the teaching fellow teaches in a North Carolina public school for several years. Teachers in a low-performing school will have the loan forgiven in half the time.
“The scholarships honestly helped me to be here today, and so I know so many other students would benefit,” said Sierra Smith, a senior student in the NC A&T College of Education.
Although Smith did not get an opportunity to be a part of the teaching fellows class, she thinks it will attract more Aggies to careers in the classroom.
“I feel like definitely having the incentive of being able to get your undergraduate or master’s degree paid for and covered by the state relieves a lot of that burden,” Smith said.
Price told FOX8 the university plans to hire a director for the teaching fellows program on campus. It will begin in the 2022-2023 academic year.
The NC Teaching Fellows Program also selected Fayetteville State University and UNC Pembroke as partner institutions.
Other institutions already partnered with the NC Teaching Fellows Program include UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, North Carolina State University, Elon University and Meredith College.