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Scholarships for Education Majors in 2018

You are someone who wants to bring positive change to the world, and you know that the best way to accomplish that change starts with you at the front of the classroom. So now it's time to figure out how to make that dream a reality – and the first step is finding scholarships for education majors or teachers like yourself!

graduation cap that says scholarship

Types of Scholarships

Luckily, there are many different types of scholarships and aid available for all kinds of students, no matter where they are in their education or career. Here's an overview of what is available:

Loans/Financial Aid

This kind of monetary aid, which must be paid back, comes in two major types: 

Federal/regional loans: These loans are offered by the federal and state government to education majors and must be paid back with interest.  Interest rates on federal loans are often lower than those attached to private loans, so it is best to max these loans out before resorting to private aid. 

Private loans: Many banks and loan companies offer private loans to students, but interest rates can be high.  In addition, some companies will charge fees that drive up the overall cost of the loan. 

Grants

Grants are typically designed to address teacher shortages in high need subject areas and underserved student populations, and if a student fulfills the requirements of the grant, the money does not need to be paid back. 

Loan Repayment/Tuition Reimbursement

There are a number of government programs at the federal and state levels that offer forgiveness of loans for teachers who satisfy certain requirements, such as working for a minimum number of years in a high need or under-served area. Click here to see if you qualify for federal loan forgiveness.

How to Find Education Scholarships

Now that you have a better sense of your options, it's time to start your search. These strategies and resources will help get you on your way!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step on your scholarship search. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for all forms of federal grants and financial aid, and it must be submitted each year while you pursue your studies.

Scholarship Search Engines

To start, try searching online for the specific type of financial aid or scholarship you are interested in. You'll be surprised by how many scholarship options are out there once you start looking! Many of your searches will lead you to websites that include comprehensive lists of scholarships specifically for education majors. You can glance through the lists and apply for the scholarships you qualify for.

There are also a variety of education-based websites and organizations that maintain databases you can search and allow you to easily find and filter scholarships that you qualify for. For example, you can filter your results to only show scholarships for education majors, women, or minorities.

Chegg Scholarships: This is a great resource for anyone searching for available scholarships. With over 25,000 scholarships listed you will easily be able to find one that fits your criteria.

Career One Stop: Sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Career One Stop offers a searchable database of scholarships that a student can limit by field. A search of education-related awards yielded more than 2,000 results for undergrad students. That's a lot of money for future teachers!

Scholarships for Specific Colleges:  Many colleges offer specific scholarships for their education students. Once you've selected a collect to attend, reach out directly to the Office of Financial Aid to inquire.

Local Libraries:  Libraries are an incredible resource for your scholarship search. Not only do they provide free access to certain databases, but they also have experts on hand who can help you to tailor your search to education-related scholarships.

Top Scholarships for Future Teachers

Students who are working toward their bachelor's degree and are enrolled in a four-year college have many options available to them if they know where to look. In addition, students who are pursuing alternative education certification programs are often also eligible for aid. In both cases, students are urged to start their search early, and be persistent. 

Here are some of our top scholarship picks for future educators: 

  • TEACHGrants of up to $4,000 a year are available for full-time education students who agree to serve low-income students in high-need teaching subjects. These grants are sponsored by the federal government, and their website has extensive information for prospective applicants. 
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund: This organization offers scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to students of Hispanic heritage. While not specifically for education majors, they are certainly eligible to apply here
  • STEM scholarships of $2,500 to $5,000 are offered by The AFCEA Educational Foundation to undergraduates pursuing careers in teaching in the STEM field. 
  • "Inspire Our Future" is a $500 scholarship offered by Teacher.org to students with a minimum 3.5 GPA. Apply here
  • Teach for America offers training and aid to future teachers. In exchange, teachers agree to work for two years in an underserved school community. Find more information here
  • The PDK Educational Foundation offers 30 scholarships of $500 to $2,000 each year to prospective teachers. Students must join its national organization, Educators Rising, for free to be eligible; more information is available here
  • The Gates Millennium Scholars Program offers annual scholarships to 1,000 students of color who are pursuing college studies, including those majoring in education. Students are evaluated on a number of considerations, including academic achievement and recommendations.

Scholarships for Current Teachers: Loan Forgiveness and Cancellation

Current teachers may wonder how they can reduce their student debt. Student loan debt is recognized as a crisis for many teachers as they struggle to pay off hefty loans with salaries that fall far beyond average for college graduates. Thankfully, they have some options.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness:  Teachers are eligible to apply to have their remaining student loan debt forgiven after they've made 120 qualifying payments while working for a qualifying employer. Students are encouraged to apply to this program before they reach that 120-payment mark and should update their information annually.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness:  This federal program will forgive up to $17,500 of a teacher's educational debt under certain conditions. Teachers must have worked for five consecutive years in a low-income school.

Perkins Loan Cancellation:  Teachers in elementary and secondary schools may qualify for their federal Perkins Loan to be cancelled under certain conditions, such as serving low-income families, teaching students with disabilities or special education needs (including infants), or teaching in "high need" fields such as math, science and foreign language.

Top Graduate Scholarships for Teachers

According to a recent report on NPR, many teachers decide to further their education with master's degrees on their own because of increased salary incentives, and some are even required to earn graduate degrees to keep their teaching license. In some cases, teachers decide to pursue PhDs in education advance their careers. You should explore as many options as possible so you choose the right education and career path for you. Here a few of your scholarship options for your education graduate degree:

  • The Applegate-Jackson-Parks Future Teacher Scholarship awards $1,000 to graduate and undergraduate education majors who write winning essays demonstrating the importance of voluntary versus compulsory unionism in education. If you consider yourself pro-union, this scholarship may not be for you. 
  • The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is an extremely competitive and lucrative funding opportunity for the right candidate. Named for the 33rd president, this scholarship awards each fellow up to $30,000 for graduate study in a public service field such as education. Students are nominated by their current colleges and universities. 
  • The Nancy Larson Foundation awards five scholarships of $1,000 to graduate students and undergraduates who want to teach elementary school children. Eligible students should submit official transcripts, an application form, and a 500-word narrative explaining why they want to teach.