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Gov. Josh Shapiro, state lawmakers, and education advocates announce new student teacher stipend

Pennsylvania announces new student teacher stipend
Pennsylvania announces new student teacher stipend 02:07

HARRISBURG (KDKA) - Student teachers in Pennsylvania can apply for a new stipend program starting on Thursday morning. 

Governor Josh Shapiro along with state lawmakers, education advocates, and student teachers came together in Harrisburg on Wednesday to talk about it. 

They hope it's just the beginning of the program.

Amber Bloom is the vice president of the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association and goes to the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg.

"The student-teacher support program is needed now more than ever," Bloom said.

She's one of countless people studying to become teachers who she said need more financial support in the final stage of the certification process.

"Student teachers often have to give up part-time jobs in order to give their student teaching the attention that it deserves," Bloom said.

This will change under a state law that just went into effect establishing the $10-million Educator Pipeline Support Grant Program, providing $15,000 to eligible student teachers. They'll be able to enroll at 9 a.m. Thursday on the website for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

"That unique classroom experience is so important and so necessary for aspiring educators. Paying student teachers a modest stipend is a win-win," Bloom said.

Governor Josh Shapiro would like to increase the funding to $15 million dollars. Many hope the stipend will help attract more teachers to the field. Since 2011, the state has seen a more than 70 percent drop in the number of people graduating with teaching certificates. 

State Senator Wayne Fontana (D), District 42, is also on PHEAA's board of directors.

"By providing financial support to support teachers we are not only investing in the future of education, but also addressing the critical teacher shortage in this Commonwealth," Fontana said.

The program will require student teachers to commit to working in the state for at least three years when they're done, in hopes to fill the gap in school districts across the state.

"This is a moment to celebrate progress in this building, progress for our teachers, progress for students all across Pennsylvania," Shapiro said. 

Applications will begin being accepted Tuesday at 9 a.m. at this link

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