New grant at UHV means more teachers in classrooms, more dreams realized

UHV is now offering a federal grant to help provide needed teachers and let more people realize their dreams of rewarding careers in the classroom.

UHV awarded its first Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants this semester. The grants provide up to $4,000 a year for students who agree that after they graduate, they will teach in high-need fields in schools that serve children from low-income families.

Yasmina St. Jean

“The TEACH grant will help fund my education and alleviate financial stress since I’ve paid strictly out-of-pocket so far for my teaching degree,” said Yasmina St. Jean, a UHV education major and grant recipient from Victoria. “My husband and I have felt the effects of the current economic crunch through our insurance premiums, retirement accounts, college funds and increased costs of living.”

To get the award, teachers must agree to serve for four academic years in a low-income school in one of the specific high-need teaching areas: bilingual education, foreign language, mathematics, reading specialist, science or special education. Students who fail to meet those obligations must pay back the grant as an unsubsidized federal student loan. So far, eight students have taken advantage of the grants.

Grant recipients said the requirements of the program were of little concern since they dreamed of working in those jobs and environments anyway.

“Many children in low-income households don’t have a lot of family support,” said Jackie Harrison, an education graduate student and Houston resident. These students desperately need teachers who will fill that void left in their lives.

A desire to fill that gap led Harrison to make the transition from a bus driver who helped children with homework to a classroom teacher. She now plans to become an educational diagnostician to help children with special needs.

Other grant recipients told of similar desires.

“I want to be able to be there for someone else the way so many teachers were there for me,” St. Jean said.

Grant recipients must meet certain other criteria, including maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.25 on a 4.0 scale.

“The TEACH Grant Program is a wonderful way to attract quality teachers to where they are most needed,” said John Stansell, dean of the UHV School of Education & Human Development. “The school is proud to be a part of this effort as we strive to provide the gift of education to everyone.”

For more information about the TEACH Grant Program, contact UHV Student Solutions at 361-573-0000 or e-mail the Financial Aid Office at Information is also available online at

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4342