Amongst talk of budget cuts and reduced financial aid, one California program is offering as much as $19,000 to students who want to become teachers.
The Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE) is encouraging students to apply before the June 30 deadline.
â€œThe APLE is an incentive for sticking with it,â€ said Fresno State APLE coordinator Jody Daughtry, Ph.D.
The money, which is given as a refund on student loans, is awarded to students who graduate from a teaching credential program and agree to spend at least four years teaching at a K-12 school in California.
In February, a notice was sent to California State University presidents that said â€œdue to the state financial situation, any 2007-08 APLE funds that are not utilized by June 30, 2008 may be rescinded.â€
However, Daughtry said that she didnâ€™t know where that information came from, as there is nothing in the current state budget proposal about reducing or eliminating APLE awards.
She said that the only thing that might happen is a small statewide reduction in the number of students the program decides to accept.
APLE was originally started over ten years ago to encourage students to pursue teaching credentials.
Students who qualify get up to $11,000 of their loans paid back by this program. Another $4,000 is available for students who choose to teach in subjects where there are shortages of teachers, such as math, science or special education.
An additional $4,000 â€“ bringing the total payback amount to $19,000 â€“ is available if a student chooses to teach in those fields with shortages in schools that also score poorly on state standardized tests.
Students can apply once they have completed 60 semester units and are enrolled in a teaching or credential program. They must also have been approved to receive student loans by the state. They are eligible as long as they are still in school.
Daughtry encouraged students to apply early, as soon as they qualify, so that they know whether or not they will have the money once they graduate. Once a student is approved for the program, the funds are â€œlocked in,â€ meaning that they canâ€™t be cut from the state budget for any reason.
â€œItâ€™s good for [students] to know that they have this,â€ Daughtry said.
Daughtry said that usually about 175 students a year from Fresno State are approved for APLE awards, out of about 600 that graduate from the credential program each year.
She said that the majority of students who donâ€™t receive awards havenâ€™t applied, usually because they never took out any student loans in the first place.
For additional questions about the APLE program, Daughtry encourages students to contact her assistant, Margaret Cardiel, through her e-mail at email@example.com.