Senator Heather Gustafson Uplifts Opening of Student Teaching Stipend Pilot Program

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Today, June 6, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) announced the opening of the Student Teaching Stipend Pilot Program, authored by Senator Heather Gustafson (DFL – Vadnais Heights), Vice Chair of the Education Finance Committee. 

The program, administered by the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board, is a 12-week pilot program beginning this fall. The program provides stipends of up to $7,500 to eligible student teachers and is expected to support close to 900 aspiring teachers in Minnesota. 

“It is no secret that student teachers are struggling to stay afloat,” said Sen. Gustafson. “We have heard stories of student teachers working 2-3 jobs on top of their student teaching, causing more and more students to choose different career paths. These stipends will ease the burdens on student teachers while ensuring we are training them for positions schools desperately need.

“Teachers play a vital role in our communities, and our job is to support them throughout their careers. I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot program and how we can expand it in the future.”

There are two grants available based on eligibility:

The Minnesota Student Teachers in Shortage Areas Grant (STSA) is available to eligible students who intend to teach in a license-shortage area or rural school district after graduating and receiving their teaching license.

The Minnesota Underrepresented Student Teacher Grant (USTG) is available to eligible students who belong to a racial or ethnic group underrepresented in the Minnesota teacher workforce.

Eligible student teachers must:

  • Be enrolled in a PELSB-approved MN teacher preparation program that requires at least 12 weeks of student teaching for initial licensure 
  • Meet satisfactory academic progress as defined by the institution
  • Not be in default on a federal or state student loan
  • Demonstrate financial need

The first priority deadline is July 26, 2024, for the Fall Semester. Students must have applications submitted for the priority deadline for the following semester. Applications submitted after the priority deadline will be reviewed based on the order of the completion date. You can visit OHE’s website here to learn more about the application.

The Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education supported this legislation. Student teachers submitted testimony to the Minnesota Senate detailing their financial struggles during their student teaching experiences. You can view the original bill presentation here.

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Senator Heather Gustafson represents Senate District 36 which includes Centerville, Circle Pines, Lino Lakes, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, and White Bear Lake. She is vice chair of the Education Finance Committee, and serves on the Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development Committee and the Jobs and Economic Development Committee.

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