New Mexico schools are experiencing a widespread shortage of teachers. In the Albuquerque Public School district alone there are 300 teacher vacancies.
The New Mexico Highlands University School of Education is awarding over half a million dollars in scholarships for students who want to teach or get advance teaching degrees.
Lawmakers approved the funding for the scholarships earlier this year. About $480,000 will go to the Teacher Preparation Affordability scholarship which covers books, tuition, and fees for students studying education at Highlands.
Interim Dean Sheree Jederberg said they'll be giving priority to English language learners, students from historically underrepresented groups and indigenous students.
"Our goal is to ensure that we have highly effective teachers in the classroom," said Jederberg, "and not only highly effective teachers, but also teachers that want to stay in the community and continue on with their education."
Another $46,000 will go to the Grow Your Own Teacher program which helps educational assistants who are looking to pursue a degree or get licensed to teach. That scholarship cover tuition and books too, but it also gets assistants paid time off work and requires school districts to provide substitues.
Jederbeg said students who filled out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) eariler this year will be automatically notified if they are eligible.