By Tonya Malinowski / News Editor
Education students looking for new options in federal grant assistance this year will find themselves out of luck at CCSU.
The campus is not participating in the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education program, which grants up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.
“We just don’t feel it’s in the best interest of the students,” Assistant Director of Financial Aid Keri Lupachino said.
The grant, offered for the first time this academic year, requires recipients to meet specific conditions, including teaching in a high-need field for four years within eight calendar years of completing their field of study.
If the student doesn’t meet the requirements, the grant turns into an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Many students are upset about the university’s refusal to participate in the program, including graduate student Sarah MacKiernan.
“They kept telling me to call back and finally said they weren’t participating,” MacKiernan, a secondary English education major said. “They are making the decision for the whole student body instead of giving us the choice.”
Thirty-nine percent of master’s degrees and 12 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded by CCSU in 2008 were in the education field, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.
“The problem is we would give this TEACH grant to students, then two years later they may change their mind and be stuck with an unsubsidized loan, which accrues interest from the day the grant was given,” Lupachino said.
The grant is available through FAFSA and requires students already be enrolled in an education program as well as maintain a 3.25 GPA throughout the year.
Undergraduate elementary education major Nicole Flanagan said she has only recently heard of the grant program.
“I can understand some of the reasons why Central won’t participate in the program,” she said, “but ultimately I think it should be up to the student to decide.”
Flanagan, one of 464 undergraduates currently in the school of education, said the university should give student the option but with fair warning of the conditions.
Students who change majors or fail to meet the requirements will be responsible to pay back the grant with interest charged from the date it was issued.
“I don’t feel they need to protect us from it,” MacKiernan said. “It makes me question if they’ve really taken the student body’s opinion into account.”