Thursday, February 28, 2008


Bill Would Provide Scholarship
Incentives for Prospective Teachers

DENVER—Today the Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 133, which would encourage prospective teachers to pursue careers in Colorado.

Sponsored by Senator Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont), the Teach for Colorado Scholarship Initiative grants scholarship money to pay for tuition, fees, and books necessary to complete a bachelor's degree in mathematics, science, special education, and other high-demand teaching areas.

“I firmly believe that a high quality education starts with a high quality teacher,” Shaffer said. “I want to remove barriers for prospective educators to complete their teaching degree by offering those students incentives.”

The bill creates a nine-member advisory committee to work with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to establish the program and designate awards. The committee and CCHE will be responsible for developing an application process, publish written policies and guidelines concerning a student's service commitment, eligibility requirements, and repayment obligations for failure to complete the program. They will also be responsible for awarding scholarship recipients and proving a biennial report to the General Assembly.

Students in the program are required to sign a commitment contract after completing one academic year and prior to beginning the second academic year. However, students who drop out of the program prior to signing the contract are not obligated to repay the award. The bill stipulates money appropriated by the General Assembly, and any gifts, grants, or donations received to fund the program.

If enacted, Teach for Colorado scholarships will be available for students beginning with the graduating class of 2009.

The bill next heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.