Future teachers can earn a degree for free in Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — If you’re looking to become a teacher in Arizona you could have your tuition covered. The Arizona Teachers Academy scholarship offers tuition coverage for students who agree to teach in Arizona.

The academy received 15 million dollars in funding from former governor Doug Ducey to alleviate the waitlist.

The Arizona Teachers Academy has helped students with this scholarship for five years, and this year was the largest enrollment yet at 3,300 students.

“If I didn’t have this scholarship, I don’t know if higher education would have been for me,” said one recipient, Joey Montes.

Joey Montes is in his final year of his masters degree at the University of Arizona. He’s excited to get his own classroom.

“I think it makes a bigger difference to have that representation, especially being from my background. Being Mexican, being queer, being someone who is just open and themselves,” said Montes.

Montes plans to leave Arizona after for personal reasons, but wishes he could stay.

But that’s not always the case.

Fred Duval, the Chair-Elect of the Arizona Board of Regents said, “we lose about 12,000 teachers every single year. So in order to replace that, we’ve gotta get the number up. Our problem is two-fold, one is that there aren’t enough teachers, and two; teachers aren’t staying long enough.”

He said there are over a thousand classes without a certified teacher, with 120 of those classes in Tucson alone.

They hope this scholarship encourages more future teachers to stay in Arizona.

“Every year you agree to teach, we will pick up your tuition,” said Duval.

The academy had a waitlist, but 15 million dollars in funds from former governor Doug Ducey has helped alleviate it.

When I spoke with Fred Duval he said when he ran for governor against Doug Ducey, Ducey had told him this was a great idea, and wanted to help him make that happen. Duval is excited to see the impact it’s made so far, and is happy this funding will help keep that going.


Reyna Preciado is a reporter for KGUN 9, she joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after graduating Arizona State University. Share your story ideas with Reyna by emailing reyna.preciado@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram, or Twitter.


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