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Pa. student teachers flood state with stipend applications

A classroom at Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne, Pa., Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
Matt Rourke
A classroom at Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne, Pa., Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

Applications for student teacher stipends opened at 9 a.m. Thursday, and by 11 a.m. the state had received more applications than it could afford.

The money comes from a $10 million program that was expected to serve around 650 students. More than 4,000 applied on the first day.

It allows student teachers to earn at least $10,000 for the 12 weeks of instruction they provide. If they teach in an area that attracts few student teachers, they are eligible for up to $15,000.

Student teaching is one of the last steps to earning a master’s degree, but until now, student teachers have been essentially unpaid interns.

Gov. Josh Shapiro and lawmakers from both parties celebrated its launch Wednesday.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to this bipartisan group of lawmakers for their extraordinary leadership for addressing this challenge,” Shapiro said.

Sen. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, said this will help the best people get into education careers.

“We know the critical role, the essential role that classroom teachers play,” he said. “If we are going to deliver a high quality education to each and every child who enters this system in Pennsylvania, we must have a process that ensures that the best and brightest go into education.”

Shapiro has proposed adding an additional $5 million to the program, managed by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

They must also agree to teach in Pennsylvania for at least three years.

Stipends will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Student teachers can apply online.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.