Universities offer scholarships to future teachers

By Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s two largest universities are launching a joint scholarship program to lure bright students to teaching.

The University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University will use a $12.9 million gift from the Hearin Foundation to fund scholarships for 20 students a year on each campus. Students will receive full tuition, room, board and money to study abroad.

The idea is to create the equivalent of an honors college for education students, raising test scores and grade point averages of incoming candidates. Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones and Mississippi State President Mark Keenum said in a Tuesday news conference that if they enhance the prestige of education as a major, they can turn out more and better teachers.

The program starts in fall 2013, meaning the universities are recruiting students now.