Financial Incentive Options for Iowa Teachers to Obtain a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Endorsement

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The Iowa Department of Education has again named Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a teacher shortage area. In an effort to support training of teachers in this special area of endorsement, two financial incentive options are available to interested licensed teachers: 1) a federally-funded grant or 2) a state-funded partial tuition reimbursement.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) developed a federally-funded grant, known as the Mid-Plains Professional Upgrade Partnership – Sensory Disabilities (MPUP-SD), to address this critical shortage area in Nebraska and the surrounding Mid-Plains states. The MPUP-SD grant provides funding to prospective students who want to earn their endorsement in educating students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Several teachers across Iowa have worked full-time while completing the UNL Deaf Education graduate program, which is delivered online with some on-site requirements.

A requirement of the MPUP-SD program is that applicants possess a current and valid teaching license. Participants may apply for the Graduate Certificate in Sensory Disabilities and earn an endorsement in Deaf Education; or, by taking two additional classes, may also complete a Master’s degree. (It is highly encouraged that anyone without a Master’s degree pursue this option.) Interested applicants would apply directly to UNL, see information listed below.

The Iowa Department of Education, in partnership with Iowa School for the Deaf, is offering a financial alternative for candidates accepted into this program. Candidates who are accepted into the UNL program will then have the option to select 1) terms of the MPUP federal grant or 2) terms of an agreement for the Iowa Grow Your Own tuition reimbursement program.

Iowa Grow Your Own tuition reimbursement program includes:

  • Willingness to complete at least three (3) years of employment within Iowa as a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. Employment opportunities include positions across the continuum of services with any employing agency: local school district, area education agency, or Iowa School for the Deaf.
  • Willingness to consider relocation within Iowa in order to fulfill employment agreement.
  • Tuition reimbursement for up to 80% of each course, payable throughout the program upon proof of successful completion of each course.

Additional information:

Please note – Funding preferences are for candidates who apply to the MPUP-SD program by January 15, 2018 for Fall 2018 program start date. Application information is found here or (

The dissemination of information from external organizations by Great Prairie AEA does not infer sponsorship or endorsement of the information. It is being passed on to our stakeholders for its educational value.

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