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    Everything You Need to Know About TEACH Grants

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: September 28th, 2023
    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 aids 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:

    • Mathematics
    • Science, including but not limited to computer science
    • Foreign language
    • Bilingual education
    • English language acquisition
    • Reading specialist
    • Special education
    • any other field that has been identified as high-need 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 or repay. In this agreement, you will agree to serve 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.

    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 post baccalaureate degree at a school that participates in the program.

    Key Takeaways

    • 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!  While you are looking at funding for your degree, make sure you also apply to all the scholarships you qualify for as well!


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    Frequently asked questions about Teach Grants

    Can I use the TEACH Grant to pursue a graduate degree in education?

    Yes! You can use the TEACH Grant for both undergraduate and graduate programs that lead to teacher certification.

    What constitutes as a low-income school?

    A low-income school is one that serves a high percentage of students from low-income families. For a list of eligible institutions at which to serve your obligation, you can consult the federal student aid website.

    Is the TEACH Grant taxable income?

    Yes, TEACH Grant funds are considered taxable income, so you may need to report them on your federal income tax return.

    Can I receive other federal financial aid in addition to the TEACH Grant?

    Yes, you can receive other federal financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants or Direct Loans, in addition to the TEACH Grant.

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