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8/15/2013 - Jackson, Miss.

Dear Editor:

Recent headlines have highlighted the importance of having exceptional teachers in every classroom, the rise in tuition and the burden that student loan debt has become to recent graduates. A financial aid program passed by the Mississippi Legislature during the 2013 Legislative Session addresses all three issues.

The Teacher Education Scholars Program provides a $15,000 per year award, which covers tuition, room and board and books for each scholar. This is a wonderful opportunity for someone who dreams of becoming a teacher to have the worry of how to pay for college or the burden of student loan debt upon graduation lifted away.

Students can now apply for the Teacher Education Scholars Program by completing the online application for state aid, available online at www.mississippi.edu/financialaid. Applications will be accepted through September 15, 2013 and supporting documents may be submitted through October 15, 2013 for the 2013-14 school year.

Incoming freshmen who apply must have a minimum 28 ACT composite score and must have graduated from high school with at least a 3.5 grade point average. If already a college student, then the student must have a minimum 28 ACT composite score on a test taken prior to entering the College of Education and a minimum 3.5 grade point average on their college coursework. Recipients must agree to teach in a Mississippi public school district for at least five years.

Because a student may submit only one online application for state aid each aid year, any student who is interested in applying for the program but has already submitted a current year state application (since January 1, 2013) should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at 601-432-6997 (toll-free at 800-327-2980) or sfa@mississippi.edu to add the Teacher Education Scholars Program to their application. Unfortunately, this cannot be done through the “Update a 2013-2014 Application” link on the website.

Additional program information is available online here: www.mississippi.edu/rHuqP

This program has great potential, but only if students apply. Please encourage your children, grandchildren and those in your community to apply for the Teacher Education Scholars Program today.

Another excellent opportunity for high-achieving students who want to enter the field of education is the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program, or MET. This is a joint effort by the School of Education at the University of Mississippi and the College of Education at Mississippi State University and is funded by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation in Jackson.

Designed to be the equivalent of an honors college for education majors, the program seeks to increase interest in middle and high school teaching as a career for top incoming freshmen and community college transfer students. The initial goal will be to attract high ability students who want to become mathematics and English teachers and to help meet the needs of new College and Career Readiness Standards introduced in Mississippi last fall.

To gain admission to the MET program, students are expected to have an ACT composite score of 28 or a SAT score of 1250 and a high school GPA of at least 3.5. An interview process will help identify students with a passion and dedication for improving public education in the state.

In addition, accepted education students will receive full scholarships and room and board for up to four years. The program also provides money for study abroad or off-campus learning activities such as visiting high-performing schools around the nation or abroad. More information on the program is available at the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching website: www.metp.org.


Hank M. Bounds
Commissioner of Higher Education
Phil Bryant
Governor of Mississippi

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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