College of Arts&Education

Apr 10, 2023

Natasha Eidson

OPSU Tackles Statewide Teacher Shortage with Incentive Programs

Oklahoma Panhandle State University is committed to addressing the statewide teacher shortage in Oklahoma alongside the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in support of the Oklahoma Future Teacher Scholarship and Employment Incentive Program, also known as “Inspired to Teach” established by the House Bill 3564.

This bill, passed during the 2022 legislative session, helps bridge the gap between the ongoing shortage of certified teachers in the state, leading to many classrooms needing fully qualified teachers. OPSU is working to tackle this issue by removing the financial barrier and offering an incentive for residents that helps attract and retain highly skilled educators to the field. Along with the Inspired to Teach Program, OPSU launched a similar scholarship in 2019 called the Panhandle Promise Scholarship.

The Panhandle Promise Scholarship addresses the desperate need for highly trained educators in the panhandle public school district’s classrooms. This is a two-year commitment from the student to teach in one of 16 Oklahoma panhandle public school districts. This scholarship pays the expected out-of-pocket costs for tuition and fees a student would face after federal and state aid and all other scholarships the student receives are applied. Panhandle State also funds up to $2,000 per year in tuition waivers for each eligible student.

“OPSU is committed to helping solve the statewide teacher shortage by empowering our students with the tools and resources they need to become highly effective educators,” said Dr. Julie Dinger, President of OPSU. “The Panhandle Promise Scholarship and the Oklahoma Inspired to Teach program are just two of the many ways we are investing in the future of education in Oklahoma.”

The Panhandle Promise currently has ten students receiving the scholarship. Students who graduate from the teaching education program at Panhandle State see a high percentage of job placement within their field.

OPSU has a long-standing reputation for excellence in teacher education and is dedicated to creating a pipeline of highly qualified teachers for Oklahoma. By providing comprehensive support and financial assistance, OPSU is helping ensure that every student in Oklahoma has access to a highly qualified educator.

“The Panhandle Promise scholarship reflects the high value that OPSU places on education and the people who deliver it in this part of the state,” stated Dr. Patrick Maille, Dean of the College of Arts and Education. “We want to invest in those people and in the future of the Panhandle.”  

The deadline to apply for the Panhandle Promise Scholarship is June 1, 2023. Information about the Panhandle Promise Scholarship can be found online at https://opsu.edu/arts-education/education/

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