What is the difference between regional and national accreditation?
Regional accreditation agencies cover specific regions within the United States while National agencies recognize institutions across the United States and some schools abroad. Though they both perform the same functions, nationally accredited programs tend to be more career-oriented while regionally accredited programs are more academic.
What scholarships and grants are available to educators?
The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation offers many and various ways for you to acquire a post-secondary education. Some Scholarships are designated for graduating seniors of certain schools. Others are awarded for specific fields such as nursing or law. Numerous Foundation Scholarships are based on financial need and not academic achievement, but all applicants must complete a current on-line application and submit it within the indicated time frame in order to be eligible for review.
Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program is a student financial aid program designed to enable and encourage students to pursue teaching careers at the pre-school, elementary, middle or secondary school level. Undergraduate and graduate scholarships, not to exceed $5,000 per academic year, are awarded on the basis of academic qualifications and interest in teaching. The purpose of the program is to assist West Virginians interested in obtaining a teaching certificate and committed to the pursuit of a teaching career in West Virginia's public schools. Due to limited funding, priority is given to junior, senior, and graduate students.
Though there are many other outside sources for scholarships and other financial assistance opportunities, it is recommended to also check with your institution's financial aid office for scholarships and grants.
What is teacher loan forgiveness?
There are two types of loan forgiveness programs for teachers: First, Teacher Loan Forgiveness for Direct Subsidized or Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Unsubsidized or Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and second, Teacher Cancellation for Federal Perkins Loans.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, if you teach full-time for five consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on your loan. If you have PLUS loans only, you are not eligible for this type of forgiveness.
Teacher Cancellation is a little different. If you have a loan from the Federal Perkins Loan Program you might be eligible for loan cancellation for full-time teaching at a low-income school, or for teaching in certain subject areas. You may also qualify for deferment for these qualifying teaching services. Be sure to check with the school that made you Federal Perkins Loan for more information.
What is TEACH GRANT?
A TEACH Grant can assist you with paying for tuition if you plant to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area. A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant is different from other federal student grants because it requires certain demands in order to receive the grant, as well as have a certain career to keep the grant from turning into a loan.
The TEACH Grant Program provides grants up to $4,000 a year to students planning to have a career in teaching. As a condition for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must sign the grant's agreement in which you agree to several requirements such as teaching in a high-need field, at an elementary or secondary school, or educational service agency that serves low-income students, and for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing your course of student. Without completing these requirements, all TEACH Grant funds convert to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid to the U.S. Department of Education.
How do I receive my West Virginia teaching credentials?
To be certified, applicants must be at least 18 years old, submit to a background check, must have completed a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution with a 2.5 cumulative GPA at the undergraduate level, and passed all required Praxis exams. An initial professional teaching certificate is valid for three years and can be renewed for five-year periods after that.
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Of good moral character
- Physically, mentally, and emotionally qualified to perform duties
- At least 18 years old on or before the first day of October of the year in which the license is issued
- Clear both a State Police and FBI background report
- Attained a minimum GPA of 2.5 for all completed courses at an undergraduate level or a 3.0 with an earned master's degree, based on a 4.0 scale
Are there alternative route options?
West Virginia offers several options for alternative teacher certification. One program, the Transition to Teaching program has been placed on hold due to a lack of funding. However, there are still other pathways to become a teacher in West Virginia. In addition to those programs, the West Virginia Troops to Teachers offers assistance to qualified military personnel seeking to become a teacher in West Virginia.