What is a TEACH Grant?

While you’re filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), you may have seen the TEACH Grant name tossed around a bit. What exactly is it? And more importantly, do you qualify?

What is it?

The TEACH Grant, which stands for The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education, is for students who are going to college or university to pursue a degree in teaching or education. It provides up to $4,000 to each recipient a year.

Who is Eligible?

Not everyone is eligible to receive the TEACH Grant. As stated, it is only for students who are pursuing a degree in teaching, but there are other requirements. Each applicant must complete the FASFA, have a demonstrated need for federal financial aid, and meet other criteria as determined by the United States Department of Education. Your college also has to be part of the TEACH Grant program and you have to be currently enrolled as an undergraduate, graduate, or post-baccalaureate.

Participating students also have to maintain specific grades. The grant requires a score above the 75th percentile on college admissions tests and you must maintain a GPA of 3.25. Before applying for the TEACH grant, contact your college’s financial aid department to ensure they participate in the program.

What are the Terms and Conditions?

Like other career and major oriented grants, there are terms and conditions that come with the TEACH Grant. Each awarded participant must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve. In addition to the cumulative GPA of 3.25, students have requirements they must meet after graduation.

If you accept the grant, you have to agree to be a high quality teacher for four years within an eight year period after graduation at a low income school, program, or agency within a high need field. Throughout the four years, students also have to submit documentation showing they have met or are meeting the terms of the agreement.

Although the TEACH Grant is a grant and does not need to be repaid, it can turn into a Direct Subsidized Loan if the terms and conditions are not met. Interest will be added from the time the grant was awarded. The eight year period can be suspended for specific family, medical, or military reasons.

How Do You Meet the Post-Graduation Requirements?

One of the post graduation requirements for the TEACH Grant is working in a high need field. Some of those included are bilingual education, math, science, special education, and foreign language. However, each state and local education agency has different subjects that are considered high needs. The entire list can be found on the Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing, which is released annually.

Another requirement is serving low income students. To find a school that is considered low income, qualified teachers can also check the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory available online.

If you’re currently enrolled in college to become a teacher, it may be in your best interest to consider applying for the TEACH Grant. If you’d like more information or to see if your school participates in the program, make sure to contact the financial aid department on campus before you complete your next FASFA.

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