Are you planning to be a teacher? Do you know about the (relatively) new federal education grants for teachers? If not, you should!
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program was created by Congress in 2007 to provide provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to education students planning to teach in schools that serve low-income students.
Unlike other federal education grants (such as the Pell Grant), the TEACH Grant is not need-based. While you must complete a FAFSA to qualify, you do not have to demonstrate financial aid.
Here’s the catch: In exchange fro a TEACH Grant, you agree to serve as a full-time teacher for at least four years in a high-need area (see the list of subjects below) with low-income students. You have eight years from your graduation to complete these four years, but if you fail to meet your obligation, your grant will convert to an unsubsidized Stafford Loan payable to the Department of Education. Interest will be charged back to the date the original grant was disbursed.
What’s a “High-Need” Field
In order to “pay back” your TEACH Grant, you must teach full-time for at least four years in a high need field, which the federal government defines as:
- Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition
- Foreign Language
- Reading Specialist
- Special Education
- Teacher shortage areas in your state at the time that you begin teaching
What’s Considered “Low-Income” Students?
In addition to teaching in a high-need field, you must also be working in an area that serves students from low-income families, which is defined by the federal government as:
Schools designated as such by the Department of Education’s Annual Directory of Low-Income Schools, including both public and private schools. Click here to see the most recent directory of these schools.
What else is required of me?
The biggest obligation of the TEACH Grant is clearly the post-graduation teaching requirements. Beyond that, however, eligible candidates must:
- Be enrolled in a college or university that is participating in the TEACH Grant
- Maintain a 3.25 GPA
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Participate in TEACH Grant Initial and Subsequent Counseling
- Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS)
How do I apply for a TEACH Grant?
If you think you meet the eligibility standards for the TEACH Grant, the first step is to contact your school’s Office of Financial Aid. You will need to complete a FAFSA, although the TEACH Grant does not require applicants to demonstrate financial need.