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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.

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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,
  • mathematics,
  • 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, you can  consult the federal student aid website.

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.

Related: Top scholarships for education majors

Can I use the TEACH Grant for undergraduate and graduate studies?

Yes – the TEACH Grant is meant for any type of studies that puts you closer towards becoming a teacher at a low-income school. So, you can use these funds to pay for a bachelor’s, a master’s, or any postbaccalaureate degree at a school that participates in the program.

Summing it up

  • The TEACH Grant provides up to $4,000 per year to students who are looking to go into education
  • Applicants must meet financial need requirements, agree to teach a high-need subject, and agree to a four-year teaching obligation upon graduation
  • Students who do not complete this application will have to repay their TEACH funds

Additional resources

Students pursuing a career in education should be sure to consider the possibility of Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness. For many teachers, student loans can be a difficult barrier to overcome, especially considering the relatively low pay that many new teachers receive. That makes loan forgiveness all the more important for making the teaching profession financially feasible. It’s a big commitment to remain in your teaching roles and abide by program rules for the entire time, but if you do, it can pay off in a big way.

Teachers may also benefit from alternative loan repayment plans, such as income-driven repayment, especially for their first few years out of college. Going into the teaching profession can seem financially daunting, but with the right know-how you can make it work for yourself!