With technology and other advances in education altering the way classrooms and school buildings are structured, the best educators are ones who never stop learning. The faculty and staff at the KU School of Education understand how much time and money their fellow educators sacrifice to complete their graduate degrees. In an effort to help reduce the financial strain, the KU School of Education announce that the KU Practicing Educator Sponsorship Program (PESP) will continue to serve graduate students through the 2014-2015 academic year.
“We want to ensure that a financial commitment isn’t the one thing stopping educators from advancing their skills,” said Rick Ginsberg, KU School of Education dean. “Our goal is to provide the best and most affordable resources to them.”
The KU PESP launch occurred during Spring 2014 as a means to impact students enrolled in Summer 2014. Kaitlin Nicholson is a current graduate student in the Curriculum & Instruction Master’s program. When asked about the KU PESP opportunity, she commented:
“The sponsorship program has helped me tremendously. It is nice to know that what we do as educators is appreciated, and this is a great way to give back to teachers that work so hard. Many educators don't get the opportunity to further their education simply because they can't afford the costs; but this opens the doors for other people to take classes, and in turn they become better educators themselves. So not only does the program help people like me, it indirectly will benefit many students in today's schools as well.”
During the Summer 2014 semester, 81 graduate students from the state of Kansas received over $31,300 in sponsored dollars – an average of roughly $380 per student. For fall 2014, 134 graduate students saved $46,920. Many of the PESP applicants represent local districts such as: Kansas City, Kansas; Lawrence; Olathe; Shawnee Mission; and Blue Valley. Other applicants represented districts as far away as: Salina, Wichita, Maize, and Liberal.
For Fall 2014, qualified students enrolled at the KU Lawrence Campus received a reduction of $140 (for three graduate credit hours) or $350 (for six or more graduate credit hours). At the KU Edwards Campus (Overland Park, KS), students received a reduction of $260 (for three graduate credit hours) or $590 (for six or more graduate credit hours).
The sponsorship program is designed to make KU’s graduate education courses and degree programs more affordable to educators who have seen stagnant wages or lower incentives due to state budget cuts. To apply for sponsorship, current educators simply need to complete the short, online application; and then a staff member from the KU School of Education will contact them with confirmation of their eligibility.
John McKinney, a current student, enrolled in the Ed.D. program offered through the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, shares the excitement of the PESP program and encourages his colleagues to consider the opportunity for themselves:
“It took just a few minutes to apply and within a very short time I was notified that I was approved. That’s it. No catch, no hoops, no long forms; just an online application. If you are a Kansas educator thinking about a graduate degree, look no further than the KU School of Education. Not only will you join me and millions of other Jayhawks in receiving a quality education, KU will help you pay for it. Take the time to complete the [PESP] application. It’s just a few clicks! Trust me; you will be glad you did!”
“We want teachers and education personnel to have all of the proper tools to help their students – and themselves – succeed in the classroom,” Ginsberg said. “Having the brightest and best-trained education leaders, administrators and teachers has never been more important.”
The KU School of Education’s graduate programs are among the nation’s best, ranked 10th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. Educators who would like to learn more, please visit http://soe.ku.edu/pesp.