Graduate Fellowships and Assistants
Saint Vincent College offers many opportunities to earn your master's degree without cost. Tuition scholarships and assistant positions are open every semester. Contact the Director of Graduate Programs in Education for more information.
Graduate Fellowship Program at Saint Vincent College:
Earn your Master’s Degree at No Cost!
Saint Vincent College graduate program in education offers a full tuition graduate scholarship and monthly stipend for candidates with bachelor’s degrees in exchange for work for a local school district as teacher, substitute, or support faculty. This program has proven successful in securing local employment for these candidates upon their graduation with a master’s degree. In most circumstances, having two years of experience as a graduate fellow gives candidates the edge when interviewing and finding employment. Additionally, PDE certified fellows obtaining a master’s degree removes the financial obligation of the required 24-credits post undergraduate education for permanent certification. Fellows are able to select from five educational master’s programs and will have the opportunity to participate as a vital educational leader for their districts connecting theories and content learned in their coursework to the classroom. While the fellows are a part of the Saint Vincent community, they are often additionally employed by their districts for additional supplemental needs. Last, recent graduates entering the fellow’s program are able to defer loans until they graduate giving time to secure employment. To date, Saint Vincent College Education Department has over a 98% employment rate following the graduate fellows program.
Frequently asked questions
If I earn a master’s degree prior to getting my first job will school district not hire me due to the master’s level pay scale increase?
False, school districts expect to pay most teachers at master’s degree step and therefore, often will not provide reimbursement for the required 24 credits for Level II certification. This is an obligation typically shouldered by the teacher candidate within 3 to 6 years of service and it is required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to remain employed. The small difference in pay scale will not deter a district needing a qualified teacher and having the benefit of Level II completion at the time of hire. The fellow program will assist you in earning master’s degree including the required 24-credits thus removing the financial obligation for Level II certification.
What if I find a fulltime position while in the fellowship, can I leave?
Yes. While candidates are encouraged to complete their degree, they are welcome to terminate the fellow program at the end of any semester given that all service day obligations are met. The contract in which you are given when becoming a fellow specifies the following:
In the event I wish to terminate my fellowship, I am obligated to provide advance notice to the District, Education Chairperson, and the College’s Human Resources Department and leave the fellowship at the end of the semester and after my completion of the current semester’s required service days.
I have not passed my exams or completed a degree in a non-education major, can I qualify?
Yes, if you are fully accepted (not provisional) into the graduate program you can apply for a fellowship. Due to Act 91, individuals holding a bachelor’s degree can serve in a district as a substitute or support teacher. Candidates certified are preferred, but some have participated in this program without initial teacher certification.
I don’t live near Latrobe, PA, can I stay on campus?
Yes, contact Mr. Bob Baum in Student Affairs for information regarding a room in the residence halls without charge.
Can I choose the district for my fellowship?
The application lists the participating districts for this program. You are allowed to select your preference. While every attempt will be made for you to have your desired district, fellows will be assigned based on open positions. You will have the opportunity to decline your fellowship placement; however, there is no guarantee another district will be available.
What is the stipend?
The monthly stipend is to offset fuel costs and other needs to participate in the program. Different districts offer different stipend amounts. All participating districts offer a stipend. Contact the Director of Graduate Programs in Education for specific amounts.
How do I manage the internship/practicum hours required by some of the master’s degree programs (i.e. counselor education)?
Most districts will remain flexible permitting some in-service internship hours. However, fellows should not expect a district to accommodate these needs. If there is a large requirement for hours (i.e. counseling), it is recommended that fellows terminate the fellowship and complete their internship requirements. Fellows that remain in the program should plan to use unassigned time, before and after school hours, lunch, and days off for completing hours.
Can I work as a residence hall director or assistant, other jobs, coach, and/or supplemental work while being a fellow?
Yes, many fellows seek assistant resident hall director positions for additional living expense support. Some fellows have weekend employment and coach for districts in which they are hired.
What is I am unable to complete or do poorly in a graduate course?
All fellows facing challenges for completing coursework or performing unsatisfactory should do everything possible to improve. Fellows that fail courses are not eligible to retake these courses as a fellow. They would have to retake the course and self-pay to complete it in order to graduate. In the event you are struggling with coursework, fellows should ask their instructors for accommodations and immediately reduce extraneous pressures causing difficulty. Your priority must be completing your degree and maintaining favor at your district, other less important obligations will need to be mitigated to ensure you can succeed. Your advisor can also help secure tutors, provide support, and advice.
Can I take an add-on certification (i.e. special education or another certification) or graduate endorsement such as Reading Specialist, STEM Education, or Online Instruction?
Yes, the district will only pay six (6) graduate credits a term. You can extend your program to include these courses prior to graduation. Thus, you may be in the fellow program considerably longer than your peers. If you can also self-pay for additional credits every term and complete on time. In order words, the district would pay for 6 credits and you would self-pay for the balance. Be sure to discuss this option with your advisor to map out a plan that will maximize your tuition benefit provided by the fellowship.
Does a district need to approve or interview prior to starting a fellow position?
Yes, you will be assigned a district principal or supervisor that will most likely interview you to ensure that you will fit well in their setting. Upon this approval you will be formally admitted to the fellows program. Sometimes a superintendent will desire to meet you and require a more formal interview. This varies from district to district.
Once approved, what are my requirements for proceeding as a fellow?
Approved fellows must:
- Apply to the graduate program and be accepted
- Email a cover letter and resume to the district supervisor assigned to you
- Apply to the substitute pool at the district in which they are assigned (It is important that the district officially hires you to protect you from union or liability issues)
- Sign and return the fellowship agreement provided to you by the graduate director
- Complete paperwork at Saint Vincent College Human Resources Office
- Meet with your advisor and register for courses
Interested? Please use the form below to apply to the program.
For more information about the fellow program contact Dr. Veronica Ent, Director of Graduate Programs in Education, firstname.lastname@example.org