What is a TEACH grant? – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

What is a TEACH grant?

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TEACH grant funds must be repaid with interest if you do not meet the terms and conditions.

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The TEACH grant program provides up to $4,000 for students to become teachers in high-need areas. 
Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible and must teach low-income populations.
If you don’t comply with the grant’s requirements, you may have to pay back the funds as a loan.

TEACH grants are meant to provide incentive to students to become teachers in high-needs areas attending to low-income students for a minimum amount of time. Recipients can get up to $4,000 a year to teach subjects including math and reading. 

Students of both undergraduate and graduate programs are eligible. But be absolutely certain you fully understand what you’re getting into before signing on for a TEACH grant. If you do not comply with the program’s requirements, you will have to pay back the money as a loan, with interest.

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How does the TEACH grant program work?

A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant is a federal grant that requires a minimum amount of time teaching as a condition for receiving it. The grant becomes a loan that must be repaid, with interest, if obligations are not met. 

The program is intended to get teachers of high-needs fields into schools that serve low-income students. To be eligible, you must join a program of study designed to prepare you to teach as a highly qualified teacher in a high-need field and that leads to a bachelor’s or master’s degree, or is a post-baccalaureate program.   

TEACH grant qualifications

To qualify, you must be enrolled in a TEACH grant-eligible program at a participating school, meet certain minimum grade point average or standardized test score requirements, receive TEACH grant counseling that explains all the requirements and obligations, and sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve or Repay.

You must score above the 75th percentile on one or more portions of a college admissions test or maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 to qualify for a TEACH grant, though requirements may vary depending on your school.

High-need fields that satisfy the TEACH grant service obligation include:

Bilingual education and English language acquisitionForeign languageMathematicsReading specialistScience, including and not limited to computer scienceSpecial education

High-need fields also include any other field listed as high-need in the annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing or as determined by the state in which you work.

TEACH grant recipients must serve as a full-time highly-qualified teacher for four elementary or secondary school years at a school or educational service agency that serves low-income students. You must also complete the required four years of teaching within eight years after you graduate from or otherwise cease to be enrolled at the institution of higher education where you received your TEACH grants.

Elementary and secondary schools (public and private) and educational service agencies serving low-income students are listed in the annual Teacher Cancellation Low-Income (TCLI) Directory.

You must also meet state certification requirements for teaching in the state where you teach.  

Before receiving a TEACH grant, a student must first complete counseling and then sign an Agreement to Serve or Repay. You must also submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. A student must sign a new agreement each award year before receiving the first disbursement of a TEACH grant.    

If you do not meet the terms and conditions of the TEACH grant service obligation, the grant will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid in full, with interest charged.

NOTE: A post-baccalaureate program is not TEACH-grant-eligible if it is offered by a school that also offers a bachelor’s degree in education.

Schools determine which of their programs qualify. Contact the financial aid office at the school you are attending (or that you plan to attend) to find out which programs are eligible.

TEACH grant amounts and limits

The TEACH grant program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year.

TEACH grants have a scheduled award, which is the maximum that a full-time student may receive for a year, and an annual award, which is the amount a student may receive for a year based on enrollment status.

For an undergraduate student, a program must require the student to enroll for at least 12 credit hours in each term in the award year to qualify as full time. For a graduate student, each term in the award year must meet the minimum full-time enrollment status established by your school for a semester, trimester, or quarter.

The Scheduled Award for TEACH Grants is $4,000, and the annual awards are:

Full-time$4,0003/4-time$3,0001/2-time$2,000Less than 1/2-time$1,000

An undergraduate student may receive the equivalent of up to four scheduled awards ($16,000) during the period required for completion of a first bachelor’s degree program and first post-baccalaureate program of study combined.

A graduate student is eligible to receive the equivalent of up to two scheduled awards ($8,000) during the period required for completion of a TEACH grant-eligible master’s degree program.

High-need schools and fields for TEACH grants

TEACH grant recipients must teach in high-need public or private schools or educational service agencies that serve low-income students. In addition, all elementary or secondary schools operated by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) or operated on Indian reservations by Indian tribal groups under contract or grant with the BIE qualify as low-income schools, even if they’re not listed in the TCLI Directory.

NOTE: An educational service agency is a regional, public multi-service agency authorized by state law to develop, manage, and provide services or programs to local educational agencies. 

If you plan to teach in a high-need field that is included in the nationwide list, that field must be listed for the state where you are teaching at the time you begin teaching in that field, even if that field is later removed from the Nationwide List; or at the time you signed your Agreement or received your TEACH grant, even if that field is no longer designated as high-need when you begin teaching.

Students and even financial aid offices are often confused by the TEACH grant program, and aren’t sure of the requirements, according to David Peyton, a professor in the Department of Reading Education & Special Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

In addition, the value of the grant and the complexity of the obligations may be too low to drive much interest, Peyton says. 

Consider that the average 2021-2022 annual tuition for public, four-year colleges was $10,740 for state residents, and $27,560 for out-of-state residents, according to CollegeBoard data.

“They overestimated the value of the $4,000 a year,” Peyton says. “If I’m saying, I’m going to offer you $16,000 but here’s the thing — you have to go into education, which may or may not be of interest to you, which means you’re going to potentially sacrifice wages because if you go into business or marketing you know you’re going to make more money there. On top of that, you have to go into a high-need field. It’s really a hard sell.”

TEACH grant teaching service obligation

To fulfill your TEACH grant obligations, you must complete four years of teaching within eight years after you graduate from or otherwise cease to be enrolled at the institution of higher education where you received your TEACH grants.

You must also serve as a full-time highly-qualified teacher for four elementary or secondary school years at a school or educational service agency that serves low-income students.

If you fail to meet the requirements of your grant, the grant will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan with interest charged from the date of the TEACH grant disbursement. 

A TEACH Grant that has been converted to a loan can be changed back to a grant only under limited circumstances. You may request that if you can show that you were satisfying your service obligation, or that your grant was converted to a loan in error. If you previously asked to have your TEACH grants converted to loans, but you have now decided to satisfy your service obligation, you may request reconsideration if you would still have time to complete your required four years of teaching within your eight-year service obligation period.

TEACH grant frequently asked questions

What happens if I don’t complete the TEACH grant service requirement?

You will have to pay back the grant as a loan, including paying interest, if you don’t complete the TEACH grant service requirement.

Can I use a TEACH grant for a master’s degree?

Yes, you can use a TEACH grant for a Master’s degree.

Can I change my teaching subject or school after receiving a TEACH grant?

As long as they fit the requirements of being high-need subjects and serving low-income students, you can change the subjects you teach after receieving a TEACH grant.

Are TEACH grants taxable?

TEACH grants are not taxable.

Can I receive TEACH grants for alternative teacher certification programs?

Contact the financial aid office of the school you are attending or plan to attend to find out if their programs are TEACH grant eligible. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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