Local students expand education with help of COS scholarships

The College of the Sequoias Foundation gave 43 students scholarships to continue their learning with Fresno State’s Integrated Teacher Education Program at the Visalia campus

VISALIA – The COS Foundation granted $43,000 in scholarships to alumni accepted into the Fresno State Integrated Teacher Education Program.

This year, the College of the Sequoias (COS) Foundation handed out scholarships to 43 different students, all who were accepted into the Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP) cohort at the Fresno State Visalia Campus. The scholarships were $1,000 each and were given to the former COS students to help them further their education locally. Of the 50-student cohort, 86% were COS alumni.

“[The scholarship] was both to encourage our students to transfer to that program and make sure that the program was filled with applicants,” Tim Foster, director of the COS Foundation said. 

Foster said it is important that students have the opportunity to study in a place where they want to live and find a job, and the ITEP program allows students to find teaching opportunities throughout the county. The application for the ITEP program is highly competitive, according to Foster. These programs are not only open to COS students, but to any individual who applies. COS alumni are only incentivized with the scholarship. 

“We at the College of Sequoias Foundation, are investing in making sure that we have plenty of new teachers being educated right here locally, so that they do not have to leave town in order to get their credential,” Foster said. “They could more readily student-teach in the communities that they want to live in, which usually means that they can get job offers in the school districts that they seek teaching.”

The ITEP program began in Visalia in 2018 and the scholarship program came about the following year in 2019. This year, the $43,000 in scholarships were made possible through the COS Foundation’s Local Heroes Fund that currently has a balance of $2 million, according to the Foster. The fund is a special designation of donations the foundation has received. Foster said the funding goes to building and producing “local heroes” who work in the medical, educational, law enforcement and firefighting fields.

The program has doubled in size since it first began in 2018. The first cohort began with around 25 students. The first scholarship program granted 22 of the 25 students with scholarships and the program has now grown to hold 50 seats in each cohort.  

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