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Patricia Cassin-Graft Student Teacher Assistance Fund Award

Patricia Cassin-Graft, Class of 1957, and Michael J. Graft, Sr. have established the Patricia Cassin-Graft Student Teacher Assistance Fund at National Louis University. The fund is a permanent endowment supported by the Graft family, other alumni and friends. The fund is meant to assist National College of Education students who are dedicated to serving under-served schools, who face financial stress and who recognize the importance of the philanthropic values that have made these funds available.

Currently, the fund seeks to assist graduate or undergraduate NCE students who will complete their final student teaching requirements. This scholarship can provide funds of over $4,000 to cover the cost of tuition the student’s student teaching term.

The fund does not provide cash awards. Recipients of the award receive a credit to their account at National Louis University to offset the cost of tuition during their term of student teaching. 

The award looks for candidates of exceptional talent who: a) are committed to teaching in low income communities; b) show promise of becoming highly qualified teachers and role models; and c) have significant financial need.

Students who are interested in being considered must meet the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Be a full or part-time degree candidate concentrating in Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Grades, Secondary or Special Education.
  • Maintain a grade point average of 3.25 or higher
  • Completion of all pre-requisite courses for student teaching by the time student teaching begins
  • Submit a letter of recommendation from a National Louis University faculty member to
  • Submit an essay describing your aspirations and financial needs
  • Complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA and demonstrate financial need as assessed by the University’s financial aid office
  • Intention to teach in the Chicago Public Schools or other urban low-income schools where the need for teachers is the greatest  

To be considered for this award the student should prepare an original written narrative that includes all of the following topics in the order presented below:

PERSONAL: Your name and Student ID


  • Why you want to teach
  • Your favorite age group to teach, and why
  • Your favorite subject to teach, and why


  • Why you want to teach in an under-served school
  • What you think your biggest challenge in the classroom will be as a new teacher and how you will overcome that challenge
  • Why you think you should be selected among the other applicants who meet the criteria for this scholarship
  • How you will sustain your commitment to teaching
  • How you will "pay it forward" if you receive an award


  • A description of any off campus volunteer work or causes in which you have participated over the last two years
  • Description of other scholarships or awards received in the past


  • A general description of the financial need you will face during your student teaching
  • A general description of other financial resources available to you, and other financial obligations that you have


  • Any additional information that you think may be useful for consideration
  • You must also upload a resume and fill out the application form with contact information, including the name and phone numbers of your current place of employment, if you are employed
  • Note on essays: Typographical, grammatical, and editorial quality of essays are weighed as a reflection, in part, of an applicant’s ability to communicate and teach language and communication skills.  Applicants may seek assistance and review of their essays, at no charge, from the University's Department of Library & Learning Support (LLS). Feel free to contact LLS at x3374 or
  • Applicants may email Dr. Suzanne Martinez at or Lesley Niggemann, Administrative Assistant, at

Finalists will be asked to interview in person with University representatives and the Graft family. There will be one interview date scheduled for fall applicants and one scheduled for winter and spring applicants. No phone meetings or rescheduled interviews will be conducted.

Recipients of the award may be asked to participate on an occasional basis in special events.

Scholarship Application

The application deadline to apply for the Winter and Spring Terms is Monday, January 8, 2018. For more information about this scholarship and to complete the application, please visit:

All submitted applications will receive an acknowledgement email confirming receipt. If you do not receive a response to your application within 24 hours, it is your responsibility to contact us so that we can work together to identify the issue.

Only complete applications will be reviewed.  All application materials including the online application, essay, letter of recommendation and resume must be submitted by the application deadline for the term for which you intend to student teach.  The decisions of the scholarship committee are final.  

Please note that AUSL residents and NTEC students are not eligible for this scholarship.


Please Note: All National Louis Scholarships require U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. Undocumented students who meet the criteria may apply to receive the Pathways Scholarship for Undocumented Students. International students who meet the criteria may apply to receive the NLU Alumni Choice.


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