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Lead with Languages Teacher Scholarship Program

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Dedicated to addressing a critical national shortage by bolstering the pipeline of future language educators, this award provides merit-based scholarships to graduating high school seniors committed to pursuing the language teaching profession in languages other than English.

Supporting Future Language Educators

Launched by ACTFL in 2019, the Lead with Languages Teacher Scholarship Program provides recipients with an award of $1,500 per academic year. Scholarships may be renewed three times following the initial award, for a cumulative total of $6,000 per recipient.

Lead with Languages Teacher Scholars also receive complimentary ACTFL membership—which includes access to the ACTFL Mentoring Program aimed at early-career language educators—during their participation in the program as well as for one year following graduation and entry into the teaching field.

Due to the urgent shortage currently in this field, deferrals will not be permitted and awardees who intend to renew their scholarships must do so in consecutive years.

Graduate in cap and gown outside a high school in a crowd of students and parents

Congratulations Future Educators!

Hailing from 14 home states and planning to teach seven languages other than English, please join us in congratulating our largest incoming class to date: 20 outstanding future educators who join the Lead with Languages Teacher Scholarship Program this fall!

Know a future language teacher who's currently a high school senior? The call for applications will reopen in Spring 2024.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for consideration, applicants must:

  • Be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents attending secondary schools in the United States or a U.S. territory.
  • Be anticipating completion of a high school diploma at the time of application.
  • Be accepted and planning to pursue a degree at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution, leading to credentialing as a language educator.
  • Have taken at least two years of the same language in high school, or present documentation of proficiency results from an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), the ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency (AAPPL), or any comparable assessment.
  • Have maintained a 3.0 or higher GPA overall (on a 4.0 scale).

Applicants may not be related to any ACTFL staff member.

Renewals are not automatic and require completion of a yearly renewal application. Students seeking renewal must:

  • Provide college or university transcripts annually to show proof of a GPA of 3.0 or higher overall (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Submit proof of continued enrollment.
  • Complete a brief annual survey to report on their experience.
  • Verify at the conclusion of their junior year that they remain enrolled in a degree program leading to credentialing as a language educator. If not clearly demonstrated by completed coursework on their transcript at that time, recipients must also submit a signed letter of recommendation from their academic advisor, indicating the advisor’s assessment of both the viability of their plan and the applicant’s commitment to pursue a career as a language educator (in a language other than English).

Application Guidelines

  1. Complete all required fields of the online application form.
  2. Upload a copy of your current high school transcript.
    1. If you have not completed two years of a language other than English in high school, present documentation of your proficiency results from an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI), the ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency (AAPPL), or any comparable assessment in addition to your high school transcript.
  3. Upload a copy of the acceptance letter from the college or university you will be attending.
  4. Write and upload a personal essay not to exceed 200 words describing yourself, your interests, and your goals (personal and professional)—including why you wish to become a language educator.
  5. Provide a letter of recommendation from a language teacher who was your instructor in high school and who can address the question: What can you tell us about this student’s character, accomplishments, and abilities that makes you believe they’ll be a great language educator?
    1. Teachers must submit letters of recommendation directly to LCF via email at Only one letter will be accepted per applicant.
    2. If you have not studied a language in high school but have met the eligibility requirements by presenting proficiency documentation from a test, as outlined above, please submit a letter from another teacher who was your instructor in high school or from your school counselor, answering the same question.

We invite you to review the evaluation rubric our selection committee uses to choose recipients. Should you have any questions about this program or the application process, please don’t hesitate to contact us.