The Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant Program provides financial assistance to Massachusetts residents who are currently employed as paraprofessionals in Massachusetts public schools, but wish to become certified as full time teachers. This grant is designed to reduce their financial burden and help address the Commonwealth's current teacher shortage. Financial need is not a requirement for the Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant. However, recipients must annually file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for a Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant, a student must:
- Be a permanent legal resident of Massachusetts for at least one year prior to the opening of the academic year.
- Be a U.S. Citizen or non-citizen eligible under Title IV regulations.
- Have applied for financial aid, using the standard Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Be in compliance with Selective Service Registration.
- Not be in default of any federal or state Student Loans for attendance at any institution or owe a refund for any previous financial aid received.
- Not have received a prior bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
- Enroll in an undergraduate degree program (full-time or part-time) leading to teacher certification in a Massachusetts Public College.
- Be employed, for a minimum of two years, as a paraprofessional in a Massachusetts public school.
- If employed less than two years as a paraprofessional, a student may qualify for the grant only if the undergraduate course of study will lead to teacher certification in high-need disciplines: Math, Science, Special Education, Foreign Languages, or Bilingual Education.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress in accordance with institutional standards.
- Recipients must sign a Terms and Conditions Statement requiring the student to serve as a full-time teacher in a Massachusetts public school. The commitment will range from a minimum of 2 years with a maximum of 4 years. Failure to provide the required service will result in a repayment of funds as defined in the agreement.
For the purposes of the Paraprofessional Teacher Preparation Grant, an eligible institution is defined as a regionally accredited public or private, college or university in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that offers a teacher preparation program leading to licensure, approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE); or a two-year public college that has a signed articulation or joint admissions agreement with such an institution for a teacher preparation program.
The grant award under this program will vary, depending on the type of institution and the students' enrollment status (full-time or part-time) as follows:
|Institution Type||Maximum Award Amounts|
|University of Massachusetts||$625 per credit, maximum of $7,500 per academic year|
|Private College/University||$625 per credit, maximum of $7,500 per academic year|
|State University||$450 per credit, maximum of $6,000 per academic year|
|Community College||$250 per credit, maximum of $4,000 per academic year|
How to Apply
Paraprofessionals interested in applying for the grant must complete the following:
- Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can file your FAFSA electronically .
- Create a MASSAid Student Portal account if you do not already have one.
- Complete the Paraprofessional Teachers Preparation Grant application in the MASSAid Student Portal system.
The 2020-2021 Application will become available April 1, 2020, and must be completed by the deadline on August 1, 2020.