Rider, in response to teacher shortage, introduces new scholarship for education majors

School will offer $2,000 annual scholarship available for fall 2023 freshman and transfer students

It’s well known that the country is facing a critical shortage of teachers. Rider University is aiming to do something about it.

Beginning in the fall 2023 semester, Rider will offer a $2,000 annual scholarship for eligible incoming first-year and transfer undergraduate education majors in an effort to increase the pool of qualified teachers.

All students who apply to Rider as an elementary education or secondary education major will be considered for the Teacher Education Scholarship.

Students must also enroll in a minimum of 12 credits a semester, maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher and remain in good academic standing. This scholarship was made possible, in part, by the generous donation of Elsie Varga ’39 and James H. McGordy ’39.

To learn more about Rider’s Teacher Education Scholarship, click here.

Rider’s annual tuition is approximately $36,000 — although there are a variety of grants and scholarships that ensure few students pay the full freight.

Jason Barr, dean of Rider’s College of Education and Human Services, feels every bit helps.

“Rider has a demonstrated track record of nurturing outstanding teachers,” he said. “This scholarship is designed to help students who are passionate and dedicated to the field of education. As future educators, they will have an incredible impact on generations of students during this challenging time for the profession.”

Rider education majors are highly prepared for their future careers, with 100% of 2021 education graduates employed full-time or continuing their education. Every education major completes 875 hours of mediated field experiences or student teaching, always paired with a faculty mentor to guide their development.

There are a number of reasons for the teacher shortage the country is facing. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, bachelor’s degrees in education have dropped nearly 52% from 1971 to 2020. Schools are also facing growing attrition among current teachers. Nationwide, 55% of educators said they were ready to retire earlier than expected, according to 2022 survey results by the National Education Association.

Building a pipeline of new teachers is critical to help combat the teacher shortage. Since 2013, Rider has participated in a program called Tomorrow’s Teachers that allows high school students in New Jersey to explore what it means to be a teacher while earning college credit.

More recently, the university has been working directly with some districts to help them create “grow your own” programs, which aim to identify promising future teachers and create distinct programs of study tailored to their needs. These programs focus on teacher aides and other paraprofessionals who already have connections to the school and the communities they serve. Rider’s program would help these individuals obtain or finish a bachelor’s degree and then complete the university’s alternate route teaching certificate program, allowing them to earn their teaching certification while working as a teacher in the school.

Rider’s College of Education and Human Services offers small class sizes — typically 10-20 students — allowing education majors to receive personalized support from faculty. The College’s extensive teacher preparation programs ensure students are prepared for teaching in multiple environments, including in-person, virtual and hybrid modalities. Undergraduate students participate in numerous fieldwork experiences beginning sophomore year. Students typically have at least one or multiple fieldwork experiences per semester, culminating in a full-semester, student-teaching experience their senior year. The college also offers unique short-term, faculty-led study abroad experiences where students learn about education systems in other countries.