Student PSEA members mark launch of Pa. student teacher stipend program

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Student PSEA members mark launch of Pa. student teacher stipend program

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Chris Lilienthal (717) 712-6677
David Broderic (717) 255-7169

HARRISBURG, PA (April 10, 2024) – Student PSEA members joined PSEA leaders, Gov. Josh Shapiro, Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), other policymakers, and advocates to mark the launch of Pennsylvania’s Student Teacher Support Program.

This new program will provide student teachers with $10,000 stipends for their 12-week placements, beginning in the 2024-25 school year. Student teaching in high-need areas that attract few student teachers will qualify a student to receive an additional $5,000. Student teachers receiving stipends, in turn, agree to work as educators within Pennsylvania for at least three years.

The new program will begin accepting applications around 9 a.m. on April 11. Eligible student teachers can apply at

“The Student Teacher Support Program is needed now more than ever,” said Amber Bloom, vice president of Student PSEA, who spoke at a press conference Wednesday. “We began talking about this idea among our Student PSEA leaders after we heard from so many members struggling with the costs of commuting to and working in student teaching placements.

“Student teachers often have to give up part-time jobs in order to give their student teaching the attention it deserves. I have friends who have struggled just to afford the commute to their student teaching placements, which can be an hour or more each way.

“There are talented young people who would like nothing more than to become teachers but simply cannot afford to make ends meet while completing a 12-week unpaid student teaching placement.

“There are a lot of challenges to student teaching, but that unique classroom experience is so important and so necessary for aspiring educators. Paying student teachers a modest stipend is a win-win. It is a win for the young people who want to pursue careers in the classroom.           And it is a win for Pennsylvania because it removes a significant financial barrier to becoming a teacher at a time when so many school districts are struggling with teacher shortages.”

PSEA President Aaron Chapin thanked the bipartisan group of policymakers who spoke at Wednesday’s press conference, including Gov. Shapiro, Sen. Hughes, Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), Rep. Gina Curry (D-Delaware), Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Fulton), and Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny).

“Thank you for the hard work you’ve put into the creation of the Student Teacher Support Program,” Chapin said. “So many of our Student PSEA members understand just how challenging it can be to complete a 12-week student teacher placement, while paying tuition, room and board, and all the other expenses of daily life. This program will help our student teachers and put Pennsylvania on a path to ease teacher and staff shortages in our schools.

“I appreciate the great work of aspiring educators like Amber Bloom, who went out and made the case for student teacher stipends and refused to take no for an answer. The fact that this program passed with bipartisan support is a testament to that great work.”

Bloom also thanked the elected leaders who supported this program and urged them to provide the funding that will be needed to fully meet the demand.

“I promise that you will see a robust response when the stipend application process opens this week,” she said. “And as you work toward a final state budget for 2024-25, I encourage you to provide enough funding to fully meet the demand for the Student Teacher Support Program. Our student teachers are ready to go.”

An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 177,000 active and retired educators and school employees, aspiring educators, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.