KU Para to Teacher Pathway Project (KU-PTP)

KU Para to Teacher Pathway Project (KU-PTP) logo

Project Description


Funding available for paraprofessionals to earn a teaching license in low-incidence disabilities!

The University of Kansas Department of Special Education invites applications for a federally funded personnel preparation program that provides tuition and a stipend to prepare successful paraprofessionals to earn a teaching license in low-incidence disabilities.

Eligibility for the Scholarship:

  • Be a US citizen
    • Be a Kansas Resident
  • Meet KU Admissions eligibility requirements
  • Agree to and be eligible to fulfill US Department of Education service obligations
  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • Completed at least one full year of experience as a special education paraprofessional working with students with low-incidence disabilities (“severe” disabilities)
  • Can verify that a Kansas school will employ and support you as a low-incidence teacher

Other qualifications for the Limited Residency License (LRL):

Qualifications of Candidates

  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree (from a regionally accredited university)
  • Obtained a GPA of 2.50 on a 4.0 scale for the most recent 60 semester credit hours earned by the candidate 
  • Completed a minimum of one full school year as a full‐time special education paraprofessional under the supervision of a special education teacher
    • Extensive long‐term special education substitute experience will be considered on an individual basis for equivalency to the described paraprofessional experience. 
  • Verify that a local education agency (school district) will employ and support you in an appropriate low-incidence special education teaching assignment during the completion of the program under the LRL license.  


  • Limited Residency License in Low-Incidence Special Education
  • Optional Master’s degree in Special Education

Program Components:

  • Acquire skills to be a highly effective low-incidence special education teacher
  • A two-year program of study with intensive mentoring and fieldwork experience

Scholarship Participant Benefits:

  • Tuition and fees paid
  • Additional $3,000 stipend to cover other costs such as books, wifi, and dependent care in Fall and Spring semesters
  • Extensive mentoring from KU faculty and staff, KU graduates, and school district personnel
  • Funding to attend at least one national conference (out of state travel)
  • Complete the program while you are teaching in your school


  • 2023-2028

Target Audience

  • Paraprofessionals (Paras)


  • Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

Project Status

  • In Progress



  • Jennifer Kurth, Ph. D.

    Principle Investigator (PI)

    Jennifer Kurth, Ph. D.

  • Elissa Lockman Turner, Ph. D.

    Project Coordinator

    Elissa Lockman Turner, Ph. D.

  • Alison Zagona, Ph. D.


    Alison Zagona, Ph. D.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Are courses offered online or in person?

A1: The coursework will be hybrid; people wishing to attend in person can do so on the Lawrence campus. People who live farther away or can’t get to Lawrence in time will be able to attend class via Zoom. All classes are synchronous, meaning we meet together as a group.

Classes will be from 4:30-7:00pm to accommodate teaching schedules and are usually held two or three days per week Monday-Thursday.


Q2: Can I complete the program if I do not already have a bachelor’s degree?

A2: The Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) requires all people obtaining a teaching credential through this Limited Residency License to have a bachelor’s degree.

Additionally, you must have at least a 2.5 GPA in your last 60 credit hours (out of a 4.0 scale).


Q3: What are the requirements for school districts?

A3: The KSDE has the following requirements for school districts hiring a teacher on the Limited Residency License:

  1. Assign a mentor and provide an approved mentor program
  2. Place the candidate in an appropriate assignment  


Q4: Will I have a full teaching license after completing this program?

A4: After you complete the program of study, you will be eligible for a standard initial teaching license, allowing you to work as a teacher in Kansas! After earning your Limited Residency License, you must complete at least one full year of additional mentoring before being upgraded to the full professional license.


Q5: Can I do fieldwork/practicum in my own school?


A5:Yes, you are expected to do your fieldwork and/or practicum in your own school. This coursework and fieldwork/practicum require you to teach students with “severe” or “low-incidence” disabilities.


Q6: What does the scholarship pay for?

A6: Your full tuition and fees will be paid for the 35-credit hour program of study. Additionally, you will receive $3,000 per semester for program-related expenses, such as dependent care, books, travel to campus, or other necessary expenses.


Q7: What do I need to do to earn the optional Master’s degree?

You would need to take two additional courses (6 credits).

Learn More!

Please visit https://rockcha.lk/para-teacher-pathway or email para2teacher@ku.edu for more information!