Financial Aid

Your Guide to The TEACH Grant

Shawna Newman

March 04, 2020

Your Guide to The TEACH Grant
It takes an extraordinary person to become a teacher. The reward of teaching is often brought to life as a former student excels in his/her career; these heartwarming teacher stories are the drive behind those looking to become an inspirational teacher themselves. Whether you’re considering an undergraduate degree in teaching or looking to enhance your teaching career with a master’s degree, the TEACH Grant offers additional, educational assistance for college. Keeping college more affordable for you, America’s future teacher.

What’s a TEACH Grant?

The U.S. federal government offers a Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant to college students that agree to serve in low-income school districts. This type of financial aid, according to StudentAid.gov, pays “up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching.” Unlike other federal grants, you’ll need to take specific classes and you’re expected to commit to a teaching job for at least four academic years within eight calendar years.

How can I get a TEACH Grant?

Here are seven steps you’ll need to take to receive a TEACH Grant:

1.) Be eligible for the basic, federal student aid programs.

Basic eligibility criteria include demonstrating financial need, U.S. citizenship (or eligible non-citizenship) registration with the Selective Service (if you’re a male) and more. You can find all eligibility criteria here.

2.) Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

EVERYONE should fill out a FAFSA, which is available to you on October 1 of each year. The FAFSA is essentially free government money to help you pay for school. Many sates offer funding on a first-come, first-served basis too. Be sure you know your state’s priority deadline and file on time.

3.) Be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student in a college that participates in the TEACH Grant Program.

It’s important to ensure the degree program you’re seeking is indeed, TEACH-Grant eligible. Those that may transfer to another college under the same or similar degree program may find that the newest degree is not approved as a TEACH Grant program.

4.) Be enrolled in a TEACH-Grant-Eligible program.

If you’re specifically seeking a degree that allows you to use the TEACH Grant, it’s best to verify if your degree is covered by the grant with your college’s financial aid office. Although the college you're looking to attend may be nationally accredited and/or the degree program is highly regarded, it's possible the university is not TEACH Grant eligible. Be sure to double check with the program chair or the student advising office.

5.) Meet the academic achievement requirements required at the college you’re enrolled.

Your college’s financial aid office can offer you their specific TEACH Grant academic program requirements.

6.) Complete the U.S. Department of Education’s Initial Teach Grand Counseling

You must complete the initial TEACH Grant counseling and do so each year you receive the grant. The 20 to 30-minute, online counseling sessions are designed to ensure you understand the service obligation, and the outcomes should you not teach a high-need subject at a low-income school. The counseling sessions include short quizzes you must also take before you can sign your TEACH Grant Agreement. StudentAid.gov provides a “TEACH Grant and Subsequent Counseling demo” with key terms and definitions.

7.) Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve.

The TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve is a yearly agreement you'll sign requiring you to serve as a high-need teacher in a low-income school district. According to StudentAid.gov, “Eligible schools and ESAs [educational service agencies] are reported to the U.S. Department of Education by state education agencies for inclusion in the TCLI [Teacher Cancellation Low Income] Directory.

Where can I teach with a TEACH Grant?

Know a location you’d like to teach, but want to be sure schools in that area are covered by the TEACH Grant? You can search the TCLI directory or find and contact the state-specific TCLI manager.

What’s a high-need field?

Part of your agreement to serve requires you to teach in a high-need field. This means you’ll be primarily teaching subjects areas that are under a qualified-teacher shortage. The U.S. Department of Education calls these “Teacher Shortage Areas.” These high-need fields include subjects such as: • English Language Acquisition and bilingual education • Foreign language • Math • Reading specialist • Science • Special education

Scholarships Can Help Fund Your Education Too

In addition to the TEACH Grant, you should apply for scholarships as well. Scholarships serve as a great way to fill in any financial gaps that may arise while attending school. Be sure to create a free profile at Fastweb.com! By creating a profile, you’ll be matched and notified of scholarships that specifically fit you and your degree type (and much more).

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