The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the state to adopt standards designed to ensure an adequate supply of qualified special education personnel that are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained. For professionals in the field of deaf education, the standard in the State is licensure as a Special Education Hearing Specialist. For professionals in the field of visual impairment, the standard in the State is licensure as a Special Education Vision Specialist. In the field of speech-language pathology, the State’s standard is licensure based on a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology/Communication Disorders.
The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), to the extent funds are available, will provide financial assistance in the form of tuition reimbursement to eligible individuals pursuing the necessary coursework from an accredited program to qualify for licensure in these three areas. As a condition of acceptance into the tuition reimbursement program, each potential participant will file with the ADE an application with a signed Commitment Statement obligating the participant to obtain licensure and employment in an Arkansas local public education agency in the field for which tuition assistance was provided. Employment must be for a period of time not less than the length of time reimbursement was awarded. Individuals holding a valid, Arkansas teaching license are eligible for financial assistance leading to licensure as a Special Education Hearing Specialist or a Special Education Vision Specialist. Individuals holding a teaching license as a speech therapist or individuals employed by school districts and education service cooperatives as speech-language pathology assistants on the basis of a Bachelor’s Degree in speech-language pathology are eligible for financial assistance leading to licensure as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Additionally, individuals pursuing the necessary coursework to earn a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology/Communication Disorders will be considered for financial assistance to obtain Arkansas Teacher Licensure in Speech Language Pathology under the terms of this tuition reimbursement program.
At the present time there is not a higher education hearing or vision teacher training program in Arkansas. However, an individual may be eligible to receive tuition reimbursement if enrolled in and taking classes through an accredited out-of-state college or university hearing or vision teacher training program. Upon starting classes, the individual must submit to the Special Education Unit evidence of the university’s accreditation, accreditation of the program, a letter of acceptance into the program, a copy of a valid Arkansas teacher’s license, and coursework for the program of study.
For eligible individuals, each term/semester the ADE will reimburse all tuition and instructional fees relating to coursework leading to licensure, mileage for one roundtrip per week to the teacher training program site at the rate of $.45 per mile from home or in the case of a program in Little Rock an origination point beyond a 50 mile radius of Little Rock, and $175.00 to address incidental costs for books and other curricular materials. Proof of payment to the program’s registrar for the coursework taken will be required prior to reimbursement for tuition and instructional fees. Reimbursement for mileage will require documentation of class attendance. All reimbursement is contingent upon successful completion of term/semester coursework. Upon completion each semester, an official transcript must be submitted with the receipt of payment indicating the coursework that was taken and paid. Upon completion of the program of study, before final reimbursement is made, the candidate must submit “Proof of Application” for licensure and required testing. If a candidate defaults on the reimbursement at any time during the program of study, repayment will be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Education, Special Education Unit within an allotted time frame of 60 days.
For additional information, contact Donna Broyles at email@example.com or Kim Johnson at 501-682-4222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.