Students who plan to teach may wish to consider the TEACH Grant, a federal program that began in 2008-2009. The TEACH Grant Program provides up to $4,000 per year ($16,000 total for an undergraduate program; $8,000 total for graduate studies) in non-need based grants to full time students who plan to teach full time in high-need subject areas at schools serving students from low-income families. Grant recipients agree to teach for at least four full years within eight years of finishing their teacher preparation program, and to teach high-need subjects in designated schools that serve low-income students.
Students who are considering accepting a TEACH grant should do so carefully and should be aware that there may be serious financial consequences to this decision. If a TEACH grant is disbursed to a student, but the student later does not fulfill the teaching service requirements, the amount of money awarded as a TEACH grant becomes a loan to be repaid with interest (at the same rate as the federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan), and the interest is compounded from the time the grant was initially disbursed.* Once the grant has been converted to a loan, it cannot revert back to a grant. Once TEACH grant recipients have left the University, they must file an annual certification of their status. The certification can be found here: TEACH grant.
Schools serving low-income students include any elementary or secondary school that is listed in the Department of Education’s Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits. High need subject areas are defined as follows:
- Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition
- Foreign Language
- Reading Specialist
- Special Education
- Other identified teacher shortage areas as of the time you begin teaching in that field. These are teacher subject shortage areas (not geographic areas) that are listed in the Department of Education’s Annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing.
To be eligible for a TEACH grant, a student must:
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), although you do not have to demonstrate financial need
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Meet all other eligibility criteria for federal funding
- Be enrolled in an eligible degree program. You may:
- Major in education and pursue a certification in a high need subject area, or
- Major in a high need subject area with the intent of also completing teacher certification
- Be either a graduate student or an undergraduate with a declared major in education or a high need subject area and at least sophomore class standing. (Note that students who have not yet declared a major may appeal to the Director of Financial Aid; eligibility appeals will be reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.)
- Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 throughout your academic program, or demonstrate a score above the 75th percentile on a national standardized college admissions test (e.g., the SAT or ACT)
- Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and Promise to Pay (service agreement), which will be available electronically on the U.S. Department of Education web site, for each year that a TEACH grant is disbursed.
- Attend Exit Counseling when you graduate or leave school.
* Periods of Suspension
A TEACH Grant recipient who is called or ordered to active military duty (or his or her representative) may request a suspension of the 8-year teacher service period in one-year increments, not to exceed 3 years.
Discharge of Agreement to Serve
A TEACH Grant recipient may qualify for a proportional discharge of the teaching obligation based on the number of years the recipient has been called or ordered to active military duty.
- Call or order for more than 3 years = 1 year discharge
- Call or order for more than 4 years = 2 year discharge
- Call or order for more than 5 years = 3 year discharge
- Call or order for more than 6 years = Total discharge
To obtain the discharge, the recipient or his or her representative must provide to ED a copy of official military orders and military identification AND a written statement from commanding or personnel officer certifying that the recipient is on active duty in the Armed Forces, the date when service began, and the date the service is expected to end.
Students interested in receiving the TEACH grant sould contact the Financial Aid Office via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an evaluation of their eligibility for the grant.