Everything you need to know about TEACH grants
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (or TEACH) Grant is a federal program that helps aspiring teachers pay for college. Recipients can earn up to $4,000 per year through the TEACH Grant, but there are strict requirements. Here’s a breakdown of all the benefits and requirements of TEACH Grants.
What is the TEACH Grant?
The TEACH Grant is a federal financial aid program that provides assistance to prospective teachers. It’s an initiative to help recruit teachers in low-income schools who want to teach high-demand subjects. Students can receive up to $4,000 per year to help fund undergraduate, post baccalaureate, or graduate education. The Department of Education defines high-need subjects as:
- bilingual education and English language acquisition,
- foreign language,
- reading specialist,
- science, and
- special education, as well as
- any other field that has been identified as high-need by the federal government, a state government, or a local education agency, and that is included in the annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing (Nationwide List).
Who can qualify for the TEACH Grant?
To qualify for the TEACH Grant, students must satisfy the basic requirements for federal student aid. Additionally, they must attend a school and be enrolled in a program that participates in TEACH. On top of that, they must complete the FAFSA and meet a set of academic requirements set by their school. You can find these requirements by reaching out to your financial aid office.
Students will also have to participate in TEACH programming, including meetings with a TEACH counselor. But the biggest requirement for TEACH Grant recipients is the teaching service obligation. Read on to find out the details of this stipulation.
Also read: Do you qualify for the Pell Grant?
What is the teaching service obligation?
Before receiving TEACH Grant funds, students must sign an agreement to serve. In this agreement, you will agree to serving as a full-time teacher for at least four years. You must fulfill your obligation within eight years of your departure from the program for which you receive TEACH funds.
The service must take place at a low-income school or educational service and in a high-need field. It must be at an elementary or secondary school. As long as it serves low-income students, the school can be public or private. For a list of eligible institutions at which to serve your obligation, click here.
Also see: Top scholarships for teachers
How much are TEACH Grants worth?
The TEACH Grant is worth up to $4,000 per year as students pursue a degree to kickstart a career in teaching.
What if I don’t fulfill my teaching obligation after receiving a TEACH Grant?
Students who do not complete their teaching service obligation will have to pay back all of the funds that they received. The grant funds will be converted to direct unsubsidized loans. As a result, they will have to be paid back with interest.
This is a situation you should avoid if you can help it. If you are considering applying for the TEACH Grant, make sure that you can commit to at least 4 years of teaching after you complete school. An unexpected increase in your student loans after graduation could put you under intense financial strain.