Despite some gains, special education programs continue to be under funded, particularly by the federal government. There is a significant shortage of special education teachers and related personnel (i.e. physical therapists, speech and language therapists). Approximately 40,000 teachers are not fully certified to teach special education and the turnover rate is high. This is a serious concern — as far too many students are taught by under-qualified educators — making student academic progress difficult.
The Toni Jennings Exceptional Education Institute collaborates with universities across Florida to offer special educator preparation programs in a consortium format allowing students to exchange ideas with scholars and instructors throughout the state. The Personnel Preparation programs at UCF help meet Florida-identified needs for adequate numbers of fully-certified personnel to serve children with disabilities by:
- Providing research-based training and professional development to prepare special education, related services, early intervention and general education personnel to work with children with disabilities
- Ensuring personnel are fully qualified and possess the skills and knowledge needed to serve children with disabilities.
Funded Office of Special Education Programs Grants
Learn about our grant funded projects that offer varying levels of tuition support.
Project ASD: Preparing Special Educators and Speech-Language Practitioners in Autism Spectrum Disorders
With its most recent funding, Project ASD has extended financial and academic support to individuals seeking master's degrees in either exceptional student education or communication sciences and disorders that incorporate UCF's graduate certificate in autism spectrum disorders.
Project BRIDGES: Collaborative Intervention Specialist
Project BRIDGES is a federally-funded project, which includes funding for courses leading to a master of education in special education or an educational specialist degree in school psychology, coupled with a collaborative intervention specialist graduate certificate.