California Retired Teachers Association Scholarship


SOE Dean's Office Dept D01000


Graduate Student Support

History and Purpose:

The California Retired Teachers Association had its beginnings in the depths of the Great Depression. A small group of teachers banded together to fight for better pensions for colleagues who were living in poverty after a lifetime of teaching. In 1929, a retired schoolteacher received a maximum of just $500 a year in pension benefits.

Despite a Supreme Court ruling that the Legislature could increase pension benefits, legislators rebuffed efforts to improve payments for several year. Laura E. Settle, CRTA's founder and president until 1945, drove the dusty highways of the state to help organize teachers in a common cause. All were welcome to join for the annual dues of $1. After several years of effort, CRTA made its first major breakthrough in 1934, when pensions were finally boosted.

Settle set the tone for the organization, a spirit that endures to this day. Retired teachers would take charge of their own destiny. They realized that united, they could accomplish much more than they could acting along or in separate, competing organizations.

Today, CRTA is one of the nation's largest retired teacher organizations, with more than 52,000 members in 89 local divisions (similar to chapters) throughout the state. Indeed, Ethel Andrus Percy, founder of AARP, got her start as a leader in CRTA in the late 1940s. From there, she went on to found the National Retired Teachers Association and AARP.

While very active on issues affecting teachers' retirement and public education, CRTA is a nonpartisan organization. Its Board of Directors takes positions on ballot issues but does not endorse candidates for political office at any level.

CRTA is characterized by its grassroots activism. Volunteerism is at the core of the Association's appeal. All officers serve without pay, and leadership grows from the local level.

Over the years, CRTA has earned a reputation as a tireless watchdog over the California State Teachers' Retirement System. The Association helps ensure that the state honors its commitment to teachers, and develops and supports fiscally prudent measures to improve the financial security of retired educators.

CRTA today is a multi-faceted organization. Its members provide a backbone of volunteer service that keeps local communities strong. In its most recent reporting period, members tallied more than 2.3 million hours of volunteer service, valued at more than $38 million.

Members raise fund and contribute their own money to provide scholarships for future teachers. Last year, CRTA and its various scholarship programs and foundations awarded $338,000 to help future teachers further their education.

CRTA members work tirelessly to protect and improve the retirement they've earned through years of service to educating our youth.

Selection and Guidelines:

This scholarship is awarded each fall to a student who has applied and been admitted to the UCR Teacher Education Program in the Graduate School of Education in pursuit of a teaching credential and who meets the criteria established by the CRTA.

Request for Information:

Rose Vilchez
Accreditation Coordinator
Teacher Education