N.C. A&T Wins $1.1M Grant for Special Education Teaching Program

The grant will help recruit and train students to teach special education.
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  • The Department of Education's $1.1 million grant will go toward recruiting and training students to become special education teachers.
  • Students will be able to gain experience at Aggie Academy, the university's third- through fifth-grade school, and at local K-12 schools.
  • The university wants to recruit students from underrepresented groups, students with disabilities, and students with multilingual skills to become culturally competent educators for children with disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) a $1.1 million grant for its special education teaching program.

N.C. A&T, one of the country's largest historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), announced March 27 that it had won a grant competition for special education and early intervention from ED.

The grant funds will go toward Project EPIC: Exceptional Educators who are Proficient, Inclusive, and Culturally Competent. The project recruits and prepares students from historically excluded groups, students with disabilities, and students with multilingual skills to earn bachelor's degrees in elementary education and pursue a special education teaching license.

With national college enrollment trends indicating a shortage of future special education personnel, particularly minorities, N.C. A&T now has the opportunity to provide scholarships to prepare future Aggie educators who are proficient in teaching practices that support diverse K-12 students with and at risk for disabilities, Kimberly Bunch-Crump, principal investigator and assistant professor, said in a press release.

N.C. A&T hopes to address the national teacher shortage by educating and graduating culturally competent educators for children with disabilities. Students can get hands-on experience at local K-12 schools and at the university's Aggie Academy.

Aggie Academy is a free public science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM) school for third- through fifth-graders in Guilford County, North Carolina. The academy celebrated its inaugural year in fall 2022.

A few months after launching Aggie Academy, N.C. A&T received $500,000 from Toyota to train STEAM teachers. The donation allowed the university to create the Toyota STEAM Lab to give education majors access to practice-based education with K-12 area students.

The state of North Carolina will also forgive loans for some students pursuing teaching in science, technology, engineering, math, elementary education, and Exceptional Children education.

Future teachers at N.C. A&T and nine other North Carolina colleges and universities can get up to $10,000 per year in loan forgiveness for up to four years. The North Carolina Teaching Fellows program is open to:

  • In-state high school seniors
  • Transfer students
  • Students currently enrolled at participating colleges
  • People with bachelor's degrees pursuing teacher licensure at a participating college