Since its founding 135 years ago, Chico State has been preparing students to successfully enter the teaching profession for generations. Thanks to a new grant, the University and its School of Education will help ease the financial burden of hundreds of additional North State students working toward their goal of becoming a teacher.

This month, the US Department of Education announced it was allocating $13.4 million, over three years, to the Northern California (NorCal) Growing Responsive, Equitable, Adaptable and Transformative (GREAT) Teachers Pipeline project. This program, led by the University’s School of Education, provides financial and administrative support, as well as industry guidance, to prospective students throughout their college journey and into a classroom of their own. 

Ben Seipel, graduate program coordinator for the School of Education and principal investigator for this grant, notes the many barriers to becoming a teacher, even for those students who are interested in rewarding careers in education.

“These burdens include costs of credential programs, costs of required tests, social support, access to education, representation and even negative perceptions about public education—many of these burdens can be insurmountable for underserved populations,” he said. “This grant is specifically designed to address these issues by providing financial and social support to underserved students in our region through a ‘grow your own’ program, which is designed to help students across our region stay in our region, give back to our communities, and enjoy careers dedicated to transforming students’ lives right here in the North State.”

Over the next three years, the grant will help support:

  • 75 high school students by providing a college-level “Introduction to Education” course
  • 35 CalTPA examination incentive vouchers
  • 300 undergraduate students at $12,500 per student per year—$3.75 million total
  • 300 credential candidates at $25,000 per student year—$7.5 million total
  • 45 master’s students at $28,000 per student—$1.26 million total

Student stipends are based on current estimates for the cost of attendance at Chico State (both for undergraduate and graduate work) and for Professional & Continuing Education (dual enrollment for high school students). In total, the grant will directly support up to 720 students as Chico State prepares them to change lives as teachers.

In addition to financial support, another key goal of the grant is to help underserved students enter the teaching profession prepared with social-emotional skills.

“Social-emotional skills supports students—and future teachers—in developing self-awareness, advocacy skills, and interpersonal relationships,” Seipel said. “Curricula and support groups specific to social and emotional learning, stress management, time management, resiliency skills, and collaborative practice can also address causes of teacher burnout and attrition.”

This grant will help prepare future teachers to be ready on their first day as teachers, and to stay in the classroom for years to come. Angela Trethewey, dean of the College of Communication and Education, said she is continually inspired by the myriad ways her faculty work to support students while providing them a high-quality education that leads to both career- and life-readiness. Seipel, she added, is a perfect embodiment of the spirit of student success that permeates Chico State faculty.

“Ben’s grant will provide for hundreds of students across the North State, who might not otherwise have the resources they need to pursue their own dreams of college and career success,” Trethewey said. “I am deeply appreciative of his laser-focus on serving students, whether that is in his own classroom or through his ‘GREAT’ efforts to secure over $13 million that will go directly to our students.”

For more information, please visit the School of Education website or email greatteachers@csuchico.edu.