How to Pay For Teacher Prep Courses with Scholarships and Grants


It’s no secret that school expenses can add up. Fortunately, for those interested in becoming an educator there are several ways to offset the costs of completing teacher preparation courses. From grants to loans, there are many resources available to help ease the burden of paying for school courses. In addition, once you begin your teaching career, there are even more ways to gain forgiveness on your school loans and save money on everyday expenses with discounts exclusively available to teachers. Learn more about how you can benefit from the many financial aid options available to those interested in teaching below!


  • TEACH Grant: This grant is aimed at teachers who wish to work in a high-need, low-income school. The grant comes with a number of qualifications an applicant must meet in order to be awarded, but the award is substantial at a maximum of $4,000 a year. Learn more to see if a TEACH Grant is right for you!
  • The Association of American Educators: This general scholarship and grant fund can be applied to many different areas of focus for those interested in teaching. Most awarded scholarships are valued at a maximum of $500. For more information on how to qualify, visit their page here.
  • The Bright Horizons Scholarship Program: This program is geared towards those pursuing a career in early childhood education and awards range in value between $250 and $1,000. Visit their application page to see if you’re eligible and apply by May 17th!
  • AFCEA Educational Foundation STEM Scholarship: Specifically available to those teaching candidates wishing to teach STEM subjects in middle schools, the AFCEA awards two scholarship valued at $5,000. For more information, see their eligibility requirements here.
  • Janice Jones Scholarships for Prospective Teachers: The American Association for Employment in Education offers two $400 scholarships to students who are currently enrolled in a teacher preparation program with two awards: a Diversity in Teaching Scholarship or Critical Needs Teacher Scholarship. To apply, visit their website to see qualifications.
  • Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship Program: Better known as Jay-Z, this scholarship is for those under the age of 25 and have a 2.0 GPA or better to qualify for a $2,500 scholarship. Qualified applicants can be at any level of education and is aimed at supporting students who want to give back to their community, making it a great option for students who plan to pursue an education major. To apply, submit your online application and a personal statement starting April 1.
  • TESOL International: This program is aimed at teachers who want to expand their career in teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). In order to qualify, applicants must be a member of TESOL Intl and should produce a statement and brief essay in support of their application; the fellowship is awarded on the basis of financial need and project merit. For more details and to take a look at all the available scholarships, visit their site here.


The following funding opportunities are geared towards college-bound future teachers earlier on their career path.

  • The Hispanic Scholarship Fund: The HSF Scholarship is designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage obtain a university degree. Scholarship awards are based on merit and range from $500 to $5,000. See all the requirements here.
  • The United Negro College Fund: There are several aid programs aimed at giving students of color access to more than $100 million in scholarships at more than 1,100 schools across the country, including its network of 37 HBCUs. In order to be eligible, you must already have applied for funding to FAFSA. Take a look at all of their scholarship opportunities, including the Walton K-12 Education Fellowship aimed at those interested in pursuing a career in education!
  • Gates Millennium Foundation: This program has special consideration for those interested in education as a career and applicants must be an ethnic minority within the US. It is a full scholarship fund that can be applied for undergraduate, postgraduate,or doctoral studies. You must have applied for the PELL grant to be eligible. More information is here.


  • Federal Pell Grant: This is grant is aimed toward students who have a financial need and must meet financial eligibility requirements, as well as enroll in a certification program at an accredited institution. See if you qualify here.
  • Federal Perkins Loan: Different from a grant, this is a low-interest loan given by your school, which means you must attend a participating institution in order to qualify. While this program is a loan, there are several debt forgiveness incentives following graduation, such as teaching low-income students, following special education as a career path, or teaching a high-need field. Learn more about loan forgiveness here.
  • Stafford Loan: The most popular of low-interest loans, Stafford Loans are available to a wide variety of students and come either subsidized or unsubsidized, depending on need and eligibility. There are also many opportunities for loan forgiveness for teaching in high-need and low-income schools.


  • Teach for America: This program employs those interested in teaching who can commit to working in low-income schools. One advantage of the immersive program is that it employs students who are becoming certified teachers while they are enrolled in the program, making it a good option to earn a salary while completing your teaching certification. Learn more about the program here.
  • Americorps: For members of Americorps and affiliated programs like City Year, a program which connects individuals to service opportunities all over the country, after completing two years of full-time or part-time service, you may be eligible for Eli Segal Education Awards to repay qualified student loans or to pay for current education expenses. Check out how this Alternate Route student has benefited from his involvement in City Year and visit the Americorps website for more details.

From grants to loans to loan forgiveness, there are several money-saving ways to help you obtain your teaching certification. For those interested in finding new teaching opportunities, check out our post featuring the latest teaching jobs available in New Jersey and follow @RutgersAltRoute on Twitter for more updates.

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Heather Ngoma

Heather Ngoma has over 20 years experience collaborating with educators across New Jersey to drive education innovation. She currently serves as the Director of Rutgers University's Alternate Route Teacher Training Program at the Center for Effective School Practices, a program which helps career changers, recent college graduates and other aspiring education professionals become licensed teachers in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter @heatherngoma.