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PHEAA's student-teacher stipend program receives more than 4,000 applications in one day

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

HARRISBURG (KDKA/AP) - Just days after the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency opened its student-teacher support stipend program, it was flooded with applications. 

The PHEAA reported more than 4,000 applications on the first day of the program. 

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

The $10 million approved by lawmakers for the stipends last year, however, was only expected to serve about 650 student-teachers.

Stipends are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, the agency said.

To encourage more college students to become teachers, lawmakers created a program to give a stipend of at least $15,000 to student-teachers in districts that attract fewer student-teachers or have a high rate of open teaching positions. A student-teacher in other districts would receive a minimum stipend of $10,000.  

As part of the stipend, the recipients had to commit to teaching in Pennsylvania for three years after completing their teaching certification. 

"The student-teacher support program is needed now more than ever," said Amber Bloom the vice president of the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association. "Student teachers often have to give up part-time jobs in order to give their student teaching the attention that it deserves." 

The state's largest teachers' union, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, said the response to the stipends shattered expectations.

"Unfortunately, this astonishing demand means that most students who applied for stipends won't get them, because there is only $10 million available for the program this year," the union's president, Aaron Chapin, said in a statement.

Chapin also called for Pennsylvania to increase the funding to $75 million next year while Governor Josh Shapiro proposed an increase of $5 million which would bring the total to $15 million. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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