More Rural Educator Scholarships, 2/2/09

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News Brief - 2/2/09

Western Governors University Takes Aim at Math Teacher Shortage With 50 Additional Scholarships for Rural Math and Science Educators

Since 2007, WGU has awarded more than 200 scholarships for rural mathematics and science educators

SALT LAKE CITY - Western Governors University (WGU) www.wgu.edu, the online, nonprofit university with the only online NCATE-approved teacher's college in the U.S., has extended its Rural Mathematics and Science Educators Scholarship Program by making 50 additional scholarships available to qualified candidates. The scholarships, valued at up to $7,500 per student, have been earmarked for individuals who are currently teaching or who are interested in teaching math or science in a U.S. rural school district.

A recent report compiled by Business-Higher Education Forum (BEHF), The American Imperative: Transforming the Recruitment, Retention, and Renewal of Our Nation's Math and Science Teaching Workforce, stated, "There are simply not enough highly skilled mathematics and science teachers entering the profession or committing to long-term careers. The United States will need more than 280,000 new mathematics and science teachers by 2015."

WGU's Rural Mathematics and Scholarship Program, made possible by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, was developed to address this need by encouraging students to pursue teaching careers in these subjects. To date, more than 200 scholarships have been awarded to both bachelor's and master's degree candidates.

For aspiring educators like Sarah Yarborough of Bishop, California, the WGU scholarship has made it possible to pursue her dream of becoming a math teacher and giving back to her community, "Our rural community has a small population, and we have a tremendous need for math and science teachers in our public schools," said Yarborough. "WGU's online programs provide a unique opportunity for those of us who live in remote and rural areas where conventional colleges and universities are not an option."

The only completely online teacher education institution to be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), WGU's Teachers College is one of the nation's largest, with graduates in nearly every state. WGU makes teaching degrees accessible to individuals living-and working-in rural areas who may not have a traditional brick-and-mortar campus nearby. WGU's unique competency-based model is ideal for working adults who have professional experience and prior education, allowing them to complete their degrees more quickly without compromising quality.