(a) The commissioner of the Office of Higher Education must establish a grant program for student teaching stipends for low-income students enrolled in a Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board-approved teacher preparation program who intend to teach in a shortage area after graduating and receiving their teaching license or belong to an underrepresented racial or ethnic group.
(b) "Shortage area" means a license field or economic development region within Minnesota defined as a shortage area by the Department of Education using data collected for the teacher supply and demand report under section 127A.05, subdivision 6, or other surveys conducted by the Department of Education that provide indicators for teacher supply and demand.
To be eligible for a grant under this section, a teacher candidate must:
(1) be enrolled in a Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board-approved teacher preparation program that requires at least 12 weeks of student teaching in order to be recommended for any Tier 3 teaching license;
(2) demonstrate financial need based on criteria established by the commissioner under subdivision 3;
(3) be meeting satisfactory academic progress as defined under section 136A.101, subdivision 10; and
(4) intend to teach in a shortage area or belong to a racial or ethnic group underrepresented in the Minnesota teacher workforce. Intent can be documented based on the teacher license field the student is pursuing or a statement of intent to teach in an economic development region defined as a shortage area in the year the student receives a grant.
(a) The commissioner must establish an application process and other guidelines for implementing this program.
(b) The commissioner must determine each academic year the stipend amount up to $7,500 based on the amount of available funding, the number of eligible applicants, and the financial need of the applicants.
(c) The percentage of the total award funds available at the beginning of the fiscal year reserved for teacher candidates who identify as belonging to a racial or ethnic group underrepresented in the Minnesota teacher workforce must be equal to or greater than the total percentage of students of racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in the Minnesota teacher workforce as measured under section 120B.35, subdivision 3. If this percentage cannot be met because of a lack of qualifying candidates, the remaining amount may be awarded to teacher candidates who intend to teach in a shortage area.