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Part of Western Governors University

WGU Teachers College Learning Community Funded Projects

Learn about grant and federally-funded emerging projects from WGU with partner organizations and foundations.

WGU Named Strategic Partner in $12.8 Million Grant

With 25 years of experience training and placing teachers in classrooms across all 50 states, the WGU Teachers College has built strong relationships on ground with more than 2,600 school district partners. Recently, work with partners and governmental agencies in Iowa has resulted in a $12.8 million dollar grant-funded opportunity for districts partnering with WGU to address the teacher shortage in the Hawkeye State.

Key districts partnering with WGU have been approved with grant money coming from the state’s allocation of the federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and the American Rescue Plan Act funds which combine to provide the $12.8 million in grant funding for the project.

Character Core

happy child at school

WGU’s Character Core project champions character development within university, K-12, and workforce settings to catalyze healthy learning and working environments and thriving communities. Key Character Core initiatives include a character-focused Professional Learning program for K-12 education leaders and teachers, the intentional integration of character into our WGU degree programs and culture, and character skills collection composed of over 511 character-rich skills.

Professional Learning programs are online competency-based character development certificate/micro-credential awarding programs for K-12 education leaders and teachers. These programs will support K–12 educational leaders and teachers in creating healthy learning and working environments and thriving communities using a character-focused approach. 

Thanks to support from the Kern Family Foundation, WGU School of Education is offering a national online Character Professional Learning program for K-12 principals and teachers to support them in building character-focused schools. Follow the Character Professional Learning link to view complete program details and registration information.


Center for Healthy Learning

graphic showing Center for Healthy Learning pillars

WGU Teachers College has received funding from the Trellis Foundation to support the development of a virtual Center for Healthy Learning. This work will build a community of practice - a center of gravity – for pulling our energy together around the needs of students and educators as it relates to five primary critical areas for student academic, professional, and personal success in access institutions across P-20.

These five areas include (1) social-emotional learning, (2) diversity, equity, and inclusion, (3) character education, (4) mental health, and (5) basic needs. Each of these areas significantly interacts with the others and are core elements of healthy learning environments. While we feel strongly that this is a solid frame for this work, we are open to reframing this initial conceptualization after our continuing conversations. 

The Center for Healthy Learning will strive to catalyze research, reflection, policy, and practice in these five areas to help ensure that more students in access institutions can flourish in their educations, and in their lives.  Through the work of the center, we hope to help: (1) make access learning environments more attractive to and inspiring for increasingly diverse students; (2) improve student success rates; and (3) close attainment gaps. Read More >


Federal Work Study Grant

WGU Teachers College is an eligible participant in the Federal Work Study Experimental Site Initiative Program (July 1, 2021- June 30, 2022). The Federal Work-Study (FWS) goal is to leverage funds to support the creation or expansion of education-related jobs, paid internships, student teaching and work-to-learn opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The FWS Experimental Sites have incentivized student work opportunities that provide not only a paycheck, but meaningful skills training that aligns with students’ future career goals.”

The funding for this project may provide financial assistance to students in initial licensure programs, with two pathways to choose from. The first opportunity is for working paraprofessionals within the school district who are also enrolled in a WGU Teachers College licensure program. Under this program, WGU can reimburse the district for up to 75% of the qualified paraprofessional’s earned student wages. The remaining 25% is the non-federal share which must be paid by the district. This program has eligibility in all 50 states. Personnel at WGU Teachers College will work directly with the district to arrange for the necessary agreements and to confirm federal eligibility. Students in this program must meet federal requirements including financial need, U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizenship, a completed FAFSA form and is making satisfactory academic progress and other basic federal student aid eligibility criteria.

An additional Federal Work Study program allows WGU to provide funding to the district for eligible students completing their 12–16-week demonstration teaching in those states where this program is allowed by law (CO, ID, IL, MI, MO, NE, NJ, NV, OK, UT, and WA). To learn more about this program, please complete the inquiry form.  

The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

department of education logo

WGU Teachers College trains and places thousands of teaching candidates in demonstration teaching assignments across the United States every year. The demonstration teaching assignments generally last three months and are full time unpaid jobs for those students, presenting financial hardship for many.  In fiscal year 2021 (July 2020-June 2021), WGU awarded $700,000 in scholarships to students during demonstration teaching, but we wanted to do more in fiscal year 2022. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) awarded WGU a total of $59,000,000 to support students across the university. WGU Teachers College received $10,000,000 of that HEERF funding to distribute to eligible students who demonstrated exceptional financial need to complete demonstration teaching. More than 3,000 students received $3,000, one-time grants each, to help fund basic living, housing, school and travel expenses during demonstration teaching so that they could focus on the work at hand and continue on their pathway to become the next generation of difference makers in education.