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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Teacher's Aide

NU Helps educators get back to school

In an effort to help credentialed teachers who have recently received pink slips, National University has announced its Project Teacher Assistance scholarship. Launched Aug. 1, the program is intended to assist alumni who have fallen victim to the financial crisis in California.

"The idea behind this program is to extend a helping hand to our alumni," said Vice President of Student Services Dr. Joseph Zavala.

The scholarship initiative will cover 50 percent of tuition for the first three classes taken toward the completion of a master's degree. In addition, the standard $60 application fee that qualified alumni would pay will also be waived for those who enroll between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31, 2010. To qualify, candidates must be a credentialed teacher in California who has received a pink slip this school year, and an alumnus of National University.

While the difficult times faced in California have some 22,000 teachers facing the possibility of layoffs in the new school year, it is also a time of increased demand for their services. According to a study by the California Department of Education, 32 percent of California's teachers are expected to retire within ten years. In addition, enrollment in teacher preparatory programs at colleges and universities is on the decline. A 2008 study conducted by WestEd indicated that San Diego County alone will need to hire over 5,000 teachers by the 2015/16 school year in order to meet the demands of new enrollment.

While teachers who enroll in Project Teacher Assistance are encouraged to build upon their qualifications, the program will also provide them with an opportunity to find another field of study.

According to interim NU President Patricia Potter, the program "is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate our respect and appreciation for their [NU alumni] achievements, and assist them in improving their current situation.

Since the Aug.1 announcement, just one applicant has enrolled in the program thus far. Dr. Zavala expects this number to increase in the coming weeks. "Many of the school districts haven't finalized their budgets. When they do, there will likely be more layoffs and more candidates for this scholarship," he said.

Candidates for Project Teacher Assistance are required to submit their application along with a photocopy of a pink slip dated within the 2009-2010 school year. Applications and additional information can be found at

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