AUSTIN—The Texas Classroom Teachers Association kicked off the 2013-14 school year by awarding $128,500 in scholarships to 82 Texas students pursuing higher education or vocational training. Now in its fourth year, the TCTA Scholarship Program is funded by the estate of the late philanthropists Charles and Phyllis Gottlieb, and it is unlike most other scholarship programs.

A Different Type of Scholarship

When establishing the scholarship criteria, TCTA honored Phyllis Gottlieb’s wishes, which were that recipients be those who demonstrate the potential and desire to succeed in higher education but who may not have the opportunity to go to college without assistance.

Rather than looking solely at transcripts and selecting only top academic performers, who often have multiple financial aid sources, TCTA chooses recipients who have faced hardships that make higher education unlikely without help.

While determination and a strong desire to succeed are criteria for selection for the scholarships, preference is given to students who are the first in their families to seek higher education and whose family incomes do not exceed twice the poverty level.

About the TCTA Scholarship Program

TCTA scholarships are awarded in amounts up to $5,000 per year for tuition and required fees. The $128,500 awarded in 2013 includes $73,000 to 59 first-time recipients and $55,500 for 23 scholarship renewals, and brings the total awarded by the program so far to $335,000.

Two of the 2013-14 renewal recipients, Jessica Barnett and Clarencia Weeks, are beginning their fourth year of college, having been first-time recipients in 2010, the program’s first year, and receiving renewal scholarships each year since. Barnett is completing her music and psychology degree at Sam Houston State University, and Weeks is studying accounting at Prairie View A&M University and working toward becoming a CPA.

The scholarships assist students pursuing courses of study leading to recognized degrees at accredited two- or four-year colleges, community colleges or career/technical schools. Awards are eligible for renewal based on satisfaction of specific academic criteria and availability of funds.

TCTA scholarship applications are due May 1 each year and can be submitted online at To be nominated, a student must:

  • be a high school senior and a U.S. citizen and Texas resident
  • demonstrate financial need
  • have a minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • demonstrate the traits of strong personal character and potential for success

Nominators’ or nominees’ parents’ membership in TCTA is neither an advantage nor a disqualifier. However, teachers/counselors may not nominate their own children.

About TCTA

The Texas Classroom Teachers Association is a nonprofit, independent professional association serving more than 50,000 Texas educators. Founded in 1927, TCTA is based in Austin and is the only statewide teachers’ group that limits active-level membership to those directly involved in classroom teaching or teaching support, including librarians, counselors and teacher aides.