A $100,000 grant will help the University of South Carolina Upstate cover tuition for eight aspiring teachers that work for Spartanburg School District 2.
USC Upstate has been awarded a state innovation grant from the South Carolina Department of Education for the SC Grow Your Own Project: SC Grow Your Own Grant Program, according to a news release from the university.
The award, which will be administered through USC Upstate’s College of Education, Human Performance, and Health in partnership with Spartanburg County School District 2, will enable eight people who already work for the school district to earn an online bachelor’s degree in elementary education with an add-on in middle school mathematics from tuition-free.
The SC Grow Your Own Project is an initiative aimed at fostering a diverse and highly skilled educator workforce to meet the needs of South Carolina’s students and communities, the news release said. University and school district officials want the collaboration to play a pivotal role in cultivating talented teachers who are dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of young learners in the community.
“We are thrilled to receive this state innovation grant for the SC Grow Your Own Project,” said Ugena Whitlock, dean of the education college, said in the release. “This award reaffirms our commitment to nurturing the next generation of teachers and empowering them to create transformative learning experiences for students across our state.”
“With the current teacher shortage, initiatives like the Grow Your Own Project provide much promise,” Angela Hinton, assistant superintendent of instructional services in Spartanburg School District 2, said in the release. “We are excited to partner with USC Upstate and the SC Grow Your Own Grant Program to fund a bachelor’s in elementary education degree with add-on certification in middle school mathematics for eight of our paraprofessionals in Spartanburg School District 2.”
USC Upstate and Spartanburg School District 2 will both contribute one-third of the funding for each candidate, with the rest of the cost covered by the grant, Hinton said.
Candidates will begin their coursework later this fall. They will finish their coursework by the summer of 2026 and participate in student teaching during the 2026-27 school year. Hinton said after earning their degrees candidates must teach in District 2 for at least three years.
Those interested are asked to contact Hinton at [email protected] by Friday, Aug. 25.
“We extend our gratitude to the South Carolina Department of Education for their confidence in our institution,” Whitlock said in the release. “This grant will enable us to strengthen the education landscape in our region and contribute to the development of outstanding educators who will shape the future of our communities.”