Applications for the recently announced Educational Aide Exemption Program enabled by House Bill 571 are available in the Financial Aid Office at Texas A&M International University.
Dr. Rosa Maria Vida, Dean of the College of Education, said the new program, directed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, offers an innovative mechanism for bringing new teachers into the field.
"This is a resourceful means of taking individuals who have already proven their interest in and commitment to education as working teacher aides and provide them with an opportunity to complete coursework leading to a degree that will bring them back to the classroom as an instructor, " Dr. Vida said.
"Participating institutions, including A&M International, believe this will help to address critical teacher shortages now and in the future, and is an enterprising way of retooling valuable human resources for future service," Vida continued.
HB 571, as authored by State Representative Irma Rangel, allows certified educational aides to attend classes and be exempted from tuition and fees (other than class or laboratory fees) as they attend a public institution of higher education in Texas to become certified as a teacher. Individuals who receive awards in one year may apply for awards in subsequent years.
In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must be residents of the State, be certified as an educational aide by the State Board for Educator Certification, have at least two school years experience working directly with students in a district, be employed as a certified educational aide, establish financial need as determined by Coordinating Board rule, be enrolled in classes necessary for certification as a teacher at an institution of higher education granting the exemption, maintain an acceptable GPA as determined by the Coordinating Board and comply with other requirements adopted by the Coordinating Board.
A three-part application, which can be retrieved from the A&M International Financial Aid Office, contains full instructions for completion and application. Sections must be completed by the aide, the school district, and the University's financial aid office. Students must also have a current financial aid file, or FAFSA, in place at A&M International.
Applicants are encouraged to file their completed applications as soon as possible.
For additional information, contact the office of the Dean of the College of Education at 326 - 2420 or the Financial Aid Office at 326 - 2225.