Multicultural Education Recruitment in Teaching (MERIT)

The MERIT project is a partnership between the University of St. Francis (USF), Joliet Township High School District 204, Joliet Public Schools District 86, Joliet Junior College, and the Joliet community. It is intended to help recruit, prepare, place, and induct a new generation of excellent teachers of color for Joliet schools – a teacher corps the more closely matches the demographics of the community’s student population.

MERIT provides scholarship opportunities to qualifying students of color who major in education at the University of St. Francis.

Why is MERIT necessary?

Local data has shown that there is a sharp contrast between percentages of minority students and percentages of minority teachers in Joliet's schools.
Research shows that all students, and particularly students of color, benefit from having a diverse teaching force.
Students are more likely to identify teachers as role models when they come from a similar cultural background.
Teachers may understand students more intuitively when they share similar cultural backgrounds.
Teachers who share cultural and community assets with their students can leverage those assets for learning in the classroom.
All teachers gain a variety of perspectives and teaching strategies from a diverse teaching staff.
Parents may be more comfortable with a teacher from a similar cultural background.
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MERIT Educator Scholarship

The Multicultural Education Recruitment in Teaching (MERIT) Scholarship is an outstanding opportunity for qualifying students of color who aspire to become teachers. MERIT Scholarship recipients commit to teach in Joliet schools for either two or four years upon graduation from USF. Scholars are selected based on qualities that indicate their potential to become exemplary teachers.

MERIT Scholarship Application

The application deadline is February 15, 2020 for the 2020-21 academic year. Scholarship awards will be announced on or shortly after March 15, 2020.

What does the MERIT Scholarship provide?

Four (4) year scholarship up to $8,000* per year for eligible seniors applying to USF as a first-year freshman.

Two (2) year scholarship up to $2,000* per year for eligible students applying to USF as a junior-level transfer.

* In conjunction with all other grants/scholarships, will be applied to the direct cost of the USF full-time undergraduate tuition and fees.

  • Student of African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino American, Asian American, or Native American origin
  • U.S. Citizen or eligible non U.S. Citizen
  • Current high school or transfer GPA of 3.00 or higher
  • Demonstrates financial need (FAFSA application required)
  • Admission to USF as one of the following
    • Full-time, first term, freshman student (four year scholarship) willing to commit to teaching in Joliet Township High School District 204 or Joliet Elementary School District 86 for four (4) years
    • Full time transfer student at junior level (two year scholarship) willing to commit to teaching in Joliet Township High School District 204 or Joliet Elementary School District 86 for two (2) years

All applicants for the MERIT scholarship are required to respond to ALL four (4) of the writing prompts noted and upload as a single file via the file upload in the application.

  1. Why are you pursuing education as a career?
  2. Tell us about any experiences or activities that have helped prepare you to be a teacher
  3. Describe a teacher who has had a positive influence on your life
  4. The mission of the MERIT program is to help cultivate teachers who best represent the diverse backgrounds of Joliet students. How does your cultural background support this mission?
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The MERIT Scholarship, in conjunction with all other grants/scholarships, will be applied to the direct cost of the USF full-time undergraduate tuition and fees.

Writing Requirements

As part of the application process, you are required to respond to ALL four (4) of the writing prompts noted and upload as a single file via the file upload below. Be sure to save your documents prior to submission. Acceptable file formats include Word (.doc or .docx) and PDF (.pdf). 1) Why are you pursuing education as a career? 2) Tell us about any experiences or activities that have helped prepare you to be a teacher 3) Describe a teacher who has had a positive influence on your life 4) The mission of the MERIT program is to help cultivate teachers who best represent the diverse backgrounds of Joliet students. How does your cultural background support this mission?

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