BEREA, Ohio (WJW) — A handful of bachelor’s degree-holders in math or science can earn a tuition-free master’s degree from Baldwin Wallace University next year.

The university on Thursday announced the program to raise up new STEM teachers amid an ongoing nationwide shortage. It’s being funded by state grants for STEM learning and scholarships to address educator shortages, which will bring tuition for the university’s math or science teaching graduate degree programs down from $19,980 to about $7,500, according to a news release.

Baldwin Wallace and its partner Meteor Learning are also adding additional scholarships which will make the degree completely free for the first 10 students who enroll, starting in May 2023. The university will continue to offer scholarships that will more than halve tuition.

“BW believes there are many college graduates and working professionals with STEM educational backgrounds who may have a calling to become a teacher,” Stephen Dittmore, dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, is quoted in the release. “This Ohio-focused program provides a pathway for those individuals to meet both the needs of our students and the future of our workforce.”

That accelerated master’s program lasts one year and prepares students to teach math or science to seventh- through twelfth-graders. It includes mentored field and clinical experiences in local schools, according to the release.

Nationwide, there were 267,000 fewer teachers in October of this year compared to January 2020, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

Just before the pandemic, there were more than 8 million teachers, but about 700,000 teachers were lost by May 2020. Workers have rebounded some, but there are still fewer U.S. teachers than in the beginning of 2012.

All of the master’s classes are fully online and “can be taken from anywhere in Ohio,” according to the release. The program also helps students find placement for student teaching and clinical work near where they live.

“This scholarship is intended to make the transition into the yearlong focused Master of Education in Science or Math completely attainable for any STEM-educated individual regardless of ability to pay,” Gabriel Swarts, associate dean of education, is quoted in the release.

  • For more information about the Master of Education in Math program or to enroll, click here.
  • For more information about the Master of Education in Science program or to enroll, click here.
  • Prospective students can call 440-210-4129 or email maedadmissions@BW.edu.