Minot State receives grant for special education degrees

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said Wednesday that a new partnership with Minot State University will help ease the state's shortage of special education teachers.

Minot State will receive a $750,000 grant to pay for scholarships for 20 paraprofessionals who work with special education students, Baesler said. The grant money will help the paraprofessionals earn bachelor of science degrees with a major in special education.

“These scholarships are targeted for experienced paraprofessionals who already work with special education students, and have shown their enthusiasm for that profession,” Baesler said. “They will cover the cost of seven semesters of instruction for each recipient, and scholarship winners will be able to take instruction online."

The $750,000 comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, approved by Congress in March, which included emergency assistance to schools.

Minot State special education department chairwoman Holly Pedersen said the university is excited to have an opportunity to partner with the state and find solutions to address the special education teacher shortage that's happening nationwide.