NC Teaching Fellows Program announces record award recipients

The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission has selected 462 award recipients for the 2024-25 academic year, the highest number since the program’s return in 2017.
Millie Barfield of Albemarle is a recipient.

The Teaching Fellows program is a competitive, merit-based forgivable loan program providing tuition assistance of up to $10,000 per year for qualified students committed to teaching elementary education, special education, science, technology, engineering or math in a North Carolina public school. The purpose of the program is to recruit, prepare and support future teachers who attend institutions of higher education in North Carolina.

Award recipients may apply to attend any of the program’s 10 partner institutions: Appalachian State University; East Carolina University, Elon University; Fayetteville State University; North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University; North Carolina State University; Meredith College; University of North Carolina at Charlotte; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

The commission received 640 completed applications and considered applicants’ grade point average, leadership and experience, awards and honors, written essays and educator recommendations. Of the total, 113 awards were already announced as part of an early decision process in December.

The 462 awards represent a 250% increase from the 132 awards offered last year. The awardees feature 223 college transfer students, 213 high school seniors and 26 licensure-only students. Overall, the recipients represent 82 counties in North Carolina and more than a quarter in the class of 2024 are minority candidates. Finally, 300 of the recipients intend to study elementary education, 66 are to study special education, and 96 are pursuing licensure in the areas of STEM education.

“We are excited about the tremendous growth and interest in the Teaching Fellows program, which has expanded to include educator preparation programs at Appalachian State University and East Carolina University, and now also serves future teachers in elementary education fields,” said Dr. Bennett Jones, director of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program. “We are grateful for the support of lawmakers and education policy leaders as we continue to recruit, train, prepare and place high-quality teachers across the state.”

The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission is comprised of four deans from educator preparation programs, a community college president, a beginning teacher, a principal, a member from business and industry and a local school board member. The NC Teacher of the Year, Principal of the Year, Superintendent of the Year, chair of the State Education Assistance Authority Board of Directors and director of the Teaching Fellows Program all serve as ex-officio members of the commission.