Trenton – In an effort to encourage more students to pursue an education career, the Senate Budget and Appropriations committee yesterday approved legislation sponsored by Senator Richard Codey and Senator Troy Singleton that would establish the New Jersey Educator Scholarship Program within the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.
“Across the country, we have seen a decrease in teachers, leading to alarming shortages in certain areas,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “We need to encourage more residents to pursue careers in education, and this bill would provide financial incentives for students seeking out those careers. We would be nowhere without our teachers, and it is imperative that we do more to help them.”
The bill, S-2661, would award 50 scholarships annually to eligible recipients enrolled in an institution of higher education. The scholarship would be in an amount up to the students remaining amount of tuition that is not covered by any other financial aid for up to 18 credits each semester. Recipients would also receive an annual stipend of $5,000 for four years of study or until the student receives a bachelor’s degree and completes an educator preparation program, whichever comes first.
“It’s no secret that New Jersey is facing teacher shortages across all subjects and grade levels. Schools can’t fill open positions and our colleges aren’t graduating as many teachers,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “It is our hope that this scholarship program will bolster our educator pipeline by incentivizing students to seek a career in education.”
Under the bill, the recipient would be required to teach for at least three full school years at a New Jersey public school district, charter school or renaissance school within five years of graduation.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 12-0.