Student teachers will be able to apply for teaching stipends starting Thursday

Gov. Josh Shapiro speaking at a press conference supporting student teachers at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg on April 10, 2024. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

April 10, 2024

Pennsylvania will start offering student teachers stipends in the near future in an effort to close the state’s teacher shortage gap. Eligible student teachers are encouraged to apply through PHEAA.

Starting on Thursday at 9 AM, student teachers in Pennsylvania will be eligible for up to $15,000 to help them through their student teacher training period.

Gov. Josh Shapiro and a group of bipartisan lawmakers celebrated the upcoming launch of the PA Student Teacher Support Program, which will be administered through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), at a press conference in the State Capitol on Wednesday.

“When these lawmakers, and those who are assembled here today, look out and recognize that one of the biggest workforce challenges we have is that we don’t have enough teachers to educate our children, they came together and said ‘that’s not a problem we’re going to allow to fester. That’s a problem we’re going to solve in Pennsylvania,’” Shapiro said.

“Starting tomorrow, student teachers will be able to apply through PHEAA in order to get the resources they need.”

Prospective student teachers are encouraged to check PHEAA’s website to apply and see if they’re eligible for a stipend.

In order for student teachers to be eligible for the program, they must be currently enrolled in a Pennsylvania college or university and enrolled in an approved educator preparation program, have a minimum 3.0 grade point average and agree to work as a teacher in Pennsylvania for three years after graduation.

Shapiro signed Act 33 into law in 2023 and it established $10 million for the Educator Pipeline Support Grant Program. The governor proposed a $5 million increase for the program in his 2024-25 budget.

“This is going to be the first step,” Aaron Chapin, the President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), said.


“We really need to make sure that we are getting rid of the financial barriers so that our students that are in college will stay in college and finish that preparation to be teachers because there are a number of people that won’t go into education just because it’s so expensive to get a degree.”

Chapin said that raising teacher salaries is the next step lawmakers have to take if they want to close Pennsylvania’s teacher shortage. It’s hard to keep teachers when surrounding states offer higher starting salaries for public school teachers.

“It’s hard to come out of college with a teaching degree and get paid what they pay in Pennsylvania and pay off your loans at the same time. A lot of our young people want to be in teaching, but they see how expensive it is to live.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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