In a time when demographic patterns in the United States are rapidly changing, it's becoming increasingly easier for aspiring educators to find Teaching English as a Second Language scholarships.
According to the NCES, around 4.4 million students in the American public school system are English language learners who speak another native language at home. Therefore, there's a high demand for ESL teachers to use their teaching expertise specifically in helping students learn English for success in our society.
Whether at the preschool, elementary, middle, high, or post-secondary school level, earning a degree in TESOL can unlock many teaching possibilities working with diverse students. If you're looking to turn your passion for languages into a rewarding and in-demand career, below we've highlighted 20 of the best scholarships available for financing a TESOL degree.
1. Alice Pack TESOL Scholarship Program
Deadline: May 5th
At Brigham Young University – Hawaii, the English Language Teaching and Learning Center has created the Alice Pack TESOL Scholarship Program to award up to $1,500 to deserving students with a declared major in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Qualified applicants must have achieved junior or senior standing, be pursuing a bachelor's degree full-time, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 in all major education courses, and take at least 12 credit hours per semester at BYUH. Scholarship criteria includes academic achievement, leadership potential, spirituality, recommendations, and personal character.
2. Atlas Corps English Teaching Fellowship
Deadline: November 30th
Annually, the Atlas Corps English Teaching Fellowship is available for aspiring TESOL teachers to spend 11 months teaching English in Colombia while earning a stipend of $1,500 and health insurance benefits. Eligible candidates must already possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, have native English language proficiency, showcase basic or higher level Spanish skills, be 35 years old or under, and display a strong commitment to a career in the bilingual educational environment. Fellows will spend 25 hours per week co-teaching with local Colombia instructors and participate in two-way learning processes for 15 hours per week.
3. CABE Undergraduate Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
Funded by the Colorado Association for Bilingual Education, the CABE Undergraduate Scholarship is presented annually for $2,500 to college students or instructional assistants who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in education with a focus in Bilingual Education or English as a Second Language (ESL) Instruction. Eligible applicants must be accepted at an accredited U.S. higher learning institution, have CABE membership, possess unmet financial need, reside within Colorado, and maintain good academic standing. Applications should include two signed letters of recommendation, verification of community service, and a two-page personal essay describing career plans in bilingual education.
CABE Undergraduate Scholarship
P.O. Box 33120
Northglenn, CO 80233
4. Carlos Penichet Teachership Award
Deadline: December 9th
The California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) has developed the Carlos Penichet Teachership Award to provide $2,000 to student members who are have declared a major in TESOL or bilingual teaching. Qualified candidates must attend an accredited teacher preparation school in California, have completed at least 15 college credits, have full proficiency in English and one other language, be committed to a career in bilingual education, and possess experience working in an educational setting. Applications must include two letters of recommendation, a nomination letter from a CABE member, current college transcripts, and a 250-word personal statement.
5. Dr. Janet Ross Scholarship Fund
Deadline: March 9th
Within the Department of English at Ball State University, the Dr. Janet Ross Scholarship Fund was established to award $1,000 to currently enrolled students who are enrolled full-time in the Teaching Major in English/Language Arts, English as a Second Language Licensure, M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), or M.A. in Linguistics and TESOL programs. Interested students must complete an application with a 500-word personal essay and two letters of recommendation from BSU faculty. Recipients will be chosen based on their academic achievement, character, leadership, and teaching potential.
6. Dr. Jessie Reppy Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 27th
Through the New Jersey Association for Teaching English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education (NJTESL/BE), the Dr. Jessie Reppy Memorial Scholarship is granted each year for $2,500 to outstanding graduate students who are enrolled in an accredited master's degree program with a focus in TESOL. Eligible students must reside in New Jersey, attend an approved in-state university, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and wish to teach children from bilingual backgrounds. Online applications won't be accepted without an instructor letter of recommendation, official college transcript, and a 500-word biographical sketch.
Dr. Jessie Reppy Memorial Scholarship
60 Main Street
P.O. Box 1026
Woodbridge, NJ 07095
7. Eva Helwing Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: October 1st
In the amount of $2,000, the Eva Helwing Memorial Scholarship is distributed annually by the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) to current student members who are enrolled in an accredited bachelor's or master's degree program leading to a teaching credential in bilingual or ESL education. Qualified applicants must have full proficiency in English and one other language, attend a U.S. institution, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, be committed to a career teaching dual language children, submit two letters of recommendation, and write a 350-word personal essay. Priority is given to aspiring educators with significant financial need.
Eva Helwing Memorial Scholarship
8701 Georgia Avenue Suite 700
Silver Springs, MD 20910
8. Florida Critical Teacher Shortage Scholarship
In the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), the Critical Teacher Shortage Scholarship is available to provide $1,500 annually to lower-division undergraduate students who have made the decision to declare a major in a critically in-demand teaching subject area, including ESL or TESOL education. Qualified individuals must attend an accredited teacher preparation program in Florida, carry 12 or more credit hours per term, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, rank in the top quartile of their class, be active members in future teacher organizations, and intend to enter the public teaching profession within Florida.
9. Gail E. Weinstein Fellowship for Community Literacy
Deadline: April 8th
At San Francisco State University, the Department of English Language and Literature has created the Gail E. Weinstein Fellowship for Community Literacy to provide $1,000 each year to worthy students currently enrolled in the graduate TESOL program who have a clear goal of becoming community literacy practitioners. Qualified students must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, take at least six credit hours per semester, and show the leadership skills for adult literacy education careers. Applicants must submit an unofficial SFSU transcript, brief statement of financial need, and two-page personal statement showing their interests in Project SHINE.
Gail E. Weinstein Fellowship for Community Literacy
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
10. Grow Your Own Teacher Scholarship
Administered by the Idaho State Board of Education, the Grow Your Own Teacher Scholarship program is hosted each year to award up to $3,000 to college students who are pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree in education with a bilingual or ESL education endorsement. This program is also open to Native American students who are receiving an accredited education degree to teach in Idaho school districts with significant Native student populations. Eligible students must be enrolling full-time with good academic standing at Boise State University, the College of Southern Idaho, Idaho State University, or Lewis-Clark State College.
11. Illinois TESOL-BE Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: January 6th
In honor of long-time educators Laurie Martin and Ana King, the Illinois Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages – Bilingual Education (TESOL-BE) offers an annual Graduate Scholarship to bestow $1,000 upon a deserving student currently enrolled full-time or part-time in an accredited master's program for TESOL or bilingual education. Eligible candidates must be current members, reside within Illinois, demonstrate need for financial assistance, maintain exemplary academic standing, and be willing to attend the Annual Convention. Applications should include an official transcript, proof of enrollment, two letters of reference, and a brief statement describing applicants' involvement in bilingual education.
12. Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award
Deadline: September 16th
As a premier global educational assessment provider, ETS has created the Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award to grant $2,500 to extraordinary doctoral students pursuing a Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree who have made significant contributions to knowledge about second or foreign language testing. Eligible applicants must be completing doctoral requirements at a university within or outside the United States, have a clear interest in language testing development, and submit a maximum 5,000-word typed summary of their doctoral dissertation research. Recipients will also be given an all-expense paid trip to attend the Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC).
13. James R. Nattinger Graduate Fellowship
Deadline: February 1st
In honor of an admired professor of applied linguistics who died of AIDS in 1995, the James R. Nattinger Graduate Fellowship program is offered by Portland State University each year to grant $5,000 to graduate students who have recently applied for admittance in the M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program. Applicants must be in good academic standing, have an interest in research, and be committed to career goals in the practical applications of language education. Along with the application, candidates must submit a brief one-page narrative essay, unofficial transcript, and a letter of support.
14. Jeanne S. Chall Research Fellowship
Deadline: January 15th
Sponsored by the International Literacy Association (IRA), the Jeanne S. Chall Research Fellowship is presented annually for $6,000 to promising graduate scholars who are pioneering research efforts in beginning reading, readability, reading difficulty, reading development, vocabulary, adult literacy, and/or bilingual reading education. Eligible candidates must be doctoral students starting their dissertation research at an accredited U.S. university, have current IRA membership, and be dedicated to an academic life in literacy. Applicants must submit a completed application with a dissertation project proposal, research description, budgeted plan, bibliography, curriculum vitae, and letter of academic reference.
15. KYTESOL Student Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 25th
On an annual basis, the Kentucky Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (KYTESOL) offers a Student Scholarship Program to grant $1,000 to graduating seniors from Kentucky high schools who have been accepted at an in-state two or four-year institution. Eligible candidates must be ESL students, have a native language other than English, maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, exhibit financial need, and be actively involved in community or extra-curricular activities. Along with the application, interested students should attach two letters of recommendation, a high school transcript, verification of college acceptance, and a typed personal essay.
KYTESOL Student Scholarship Program
115 South Miles Street
Elizabethtown, KY 42701
16. Ruth Crymes TESOL Graduate Fellowship
Deadline: November 1st
Funded by the TESOL International Association, the Ruth Crymes TESOL Graduate Fellowship is provided each year to grant $1,500 to student members who are or have been enrolled within the past year in a TESOL or TEFL graduate program that prepares teachers to educate English language learners. Eligible applicants must be pursuing graduate studies in the United States and have financial need for conducting a research project with practical classroom applications in the TESOL field. Application packets must be accompanied by a short 250-word personal statement, detailed graduate project description, and one letter of recommendation.
17. TABE Undergraduate Scholarship
Deadline: March 16th
Every year, the Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE) offers an Undergraduate Scholarship to distribute $1,000 to college students currently enrolled in an accredited teacher education program in Texas with a declared specialization in bilingual or ESL education. To qualify, candidates must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.5, have attained at least junior-level status, be current BESO members, be bilingual in English and another language, and intend to pursue a career in bilingual teaching. Applications should include three letters of recommendation, an official transcript, and three essay question responses.
TABE Undergraduate Scholarship
110 Broadway Suite 480
San Antonio, TX 78205
18. TEACH Grant Program
Deadline: June 30th
Through the Department of Education, the TEACH Grant Program was established to provide $4,000 annually to worthy undergraduate or graduate students who are admitted into an accredited teacher education program in a high-need field, including bilingual and TESOL education. Eligible applicants must have U.S. citizenship, attend a participating university, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, and have attained a score above the 75th percentile on their college admission tests. In exchange, recipients will be obligated to teach full-time for at least two years in an elementary or secondary school in America serving low-income youth.
TEACH Grant Program
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202
19. Teach NYC Bilingual Special Education Scholarship
Deadline: May 22nd
For students at Adelphi University, Bank Street College, CUNY Lehman College, Fordham University, Long Island University, and Manhattan College, the Teach NYC Scholarship is available to cover the tuition costs of receiving a master's degree in bilingual special education. Qualified applicants must possess a bachelor's degree, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, be proficient in English and Spanish, and pass the Bilingual Education Assessment (BEA) exam. Recipients will be asked to sign a contractual agreement to serve as New York State certified bilingual special education teachers for two years full-time for every year of funding.
Teach NYC Bilingual Special Education Scholarship
65 Court Street Room 508
Brooklyn, NY 11201
20. TOEFL Graduate Student Research Grants
Deadline: March 13th
Ranging in value from $3,000 to $5,000 apiece, the TOEFL Graduate Student Research Grants are given annually to students enrolled in accredited master's and doctoral degree programs to study language testing, applied linguistics, language education, bilingual teaching, and related fields. Eligible candidates must be conducting foundational research projects that will promote high-quality language assessment for young English learners from 8 to 15 years old. Along with the application, students should supply a detailed research project proposal, a current CV or resume, at least one letter of support from a faculty advisor, and an estimated budget plan.
Although the minimum requirement for becoming an ESL teacher is a bachelor's degree, many choose to return to graduate school to earn a master's degree specifically in TESOL to expand their classroom teaching skills and literacy development knowledge. Either way, you'll need to find funding resources to finance four to six or more years of post-secondary schooling. That's why it's advised that you apply to some of these great Teaching English as a Second Language scholarships to lower the financial burden of tuition while learning how to adapt curriculum for non-native English language learners.