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New UM Scholarship Seeks to Improve Teacher Shortage in Rural Alabama Schools

Throughout Alabama, rural school systems are experiencing teacher shortages that the University of Montevallo is stepping up to try and fill.

UM’s College of Education and Human Development has committed to increasing the number of highly qualified teachers to serve in targeted rural public schools by offering the new Rural Recruitment Scholarship to support and prepare students to teach in rural schools.

“Although Alabama is experiencing a statewide teacher shortage, vacancies disproportionately impact rural schools,” said Dr. Courtney C. Bentley, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The College of Education and Human Development is extremely grateful for these generous funds that will help us prepare highly qualified teachers to serve students in these rural communities.”

“Every child in Alabama deserves to have a teacher who positively impacts student learning. We are confident that these funds will support our efforts to meet this goal by incentivizing teacher candidates to serve in rural schools.”

The Rural Recruitment Scholarship is $2,500 for one calendar year, $5,000 for two years and $10,000 for three years. Each amount is a one-time award.

To be eligible for a scholarship, UM students must be unconditionally admitted to the Teacher Education Program. Transfer students will be conditionally awarded the scholarship pending admission to TEP. UM graduate students eligible for the scholarship must be seeking an Alternative Master’s Degree.

Recipients will be provided with opportunities for additional training and activities to support their understanding of the unique challenges and strengths that rural schools possess, said Scott Dillard, UM’s vice president of advancement and external affairs. Full award recipients are also required to participate in community service.

Scholarships are structured according to a sliding scale where the amount of scholarship received determines the required teaching service time after the program’s completion.

In addition, all recipients must complete the required teaching service within 12 months of certification and receive Alabama State Department of Education certification within six months of the originally expected graduate date.

This program includes all rural school systems in Alabama. The Central Alabama rural school systems covered under this scholarship umbrella include: Bibb County Schools, Chilton County Schools and select Shelby County Schools – Elvin Hill Elementary, Shelby Elementary, Vincent Elementary, Vincent Middle High and Wilsonville Elementary.

“Here, rural schools are viewed as the middle of somewhere, the core of a rural community and place for revitalization and growth,” Dillard said.

Click here to apply for the Rural Recruitment Scholarship.

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