The federal Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services awarded a $1.25 million grant to Fontbonne University’s Department of Communication Disorders and Deaf Education. The grant will help prepare graduate students in deaf education and speech-language pathology to better serve children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, officials said.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant and in turn prepare graduates to serve school-aged children learning alongside their peers in the general education setting,” Gale Rice, professor and dean of the college of education and allied health professionals at Fontbonne, said in a statement. “It is deeply rewarding to know that Fontbonne will have an impact on the lives of so many young students across the country.”

Starting in June, the grant will support 36 master’s students who will work in northeastern states with critical shortages of special education and deaf education professionals, the university said.

Fontbonne has received more than $6 million in federal funding for its communication disorders and deaf education department, officials said.

The university in September named a new president, effective July 2020. Nancy Blattner will replace Michael Pressimone, who cited a desire to move closer to his family on the East Coast. He will resign at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year.