Students who have found themselves eligible for other grants, including the Federal Pell Grant, may be interested in a grant for future educators. If you know you want to be a teacher, and are interested in committing to work as an educator in a low-income school and high-need field of study, consider investigating the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant. The TEACH Grant program was created in 2007 through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act to provide financial assistance for future teachers taking the leap to fill in gaps in service in communities across the country. If you’re passionate about a career in education and know you want to go where you’re needed, contact the financial aid office at your intended college for more information.
As a federal grant, you’ll need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to determine whether you’re eligible for the TEACH Grant and how much funding you could be eligible to receive. (You should always fill that application out anyway as it’s your ticket to free money from all government programs.) You’ll be able to teach in public or private elementary and secondary schools, as long as you sign on to teach in low-income areas in high-need fields. High-need fields of study include foreign language, special education, math and science, bilingual education and other areas that may have shortages depending on location.
Future teachers committed to work as educators in low-income, high-need fields of study are eligible for the grants. The schools they choose to work in must be schools serving low-income students, which include any elementary or secondary school designated as such by the Department of Education. As with many other federal grants, eligible students are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student in a postsecondary educational institution that has chosen to participate in the TEACH Grant Program, meet certain academic achievement requirements, which usually mean a GPA of at least 3.25 and decent admissions test scores. Students must sign a contract – the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve – which states that grant recipients must be a highly-qualified teacher in a low-income school and high-need field for at least four academic years.
Eligible students may receive up to $4,000 per year, but as with many federal grant programs, that total may fluctuate.
If students receive the grant and then choose not to pursue teaching or meet the requirements of their TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve contract, the TEACH Grant will be turned into a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. TEACH Grant recipients will be given a 6-month grace period prior to entering repayment if a TEACH Grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
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