Federal TEACH Grant

There’s an increasing demand for teachers in high-end areas in subjects such as mathematics, science, and reading specialists. We cannot overlook the fact that teachers are incredibly relevant, and that they play a massive role in how a society develops. In a way to get more people in the teaching field, the US Department of Education created the federal TEACH grant to help students who want to enter the teaching field. If you are aspiring to get an undergraduate teacher’s degree or acquire your master’s degree to improve your teaching career, the federal TEACH grant is an excellent way to receive the certificate you need. 

In this guide, we will take a look at

  • What the federal TEACH grant is
  • What makes the TEACH grant unique
  • How to acquire a federal TEACH grant
  • Who qualifies for the federal student aid TEACH grant
  • Programs that are eligible for the TEACH grant 

Before we begin, let’s lay this fact down. Student debt is a huge issue. It’s the same for students pursuing a certificate degree in teaching or education. You could end up with substantial loan debts too massive to pay off. You can get into a lot of trouble later in life, and the consequences can be lifelong. But the federal TEACH grant is the one right way to pay for your school tuition. 

If you are ready, then let’s get into it. 

What Is A Federal TEACH Grant?

The TEACH grant is for college or university students pursuing a degree course in education or teaching. The TEACH grant offers a maximum of $4,000 to students every year. Interestingly, the TEACH grant acts like an educational grant and forgiveness loan at the same time. You don’t have to repay the loan only if you adhere to the guidelines. 

 

In 2007, the Department of Education established the TEACH grant to encourage highly qualified teachers to serve in low-income schools. The federal student aid TEACH grant is not like most federal grants, meaning, there are more qualifications before you qualify for the grant rather than just passing some courses. You need to commit to the TEACH grant before you can be eligible for the grant benefit. 

 

In this guide, you’ll know everything to help you qualify for the federal student aid TEACH grant without many difficulties.

What Makes The Federal TEACH Grant So Unique?

One unique aspect of the TEACH grant is that you can acquire the grant before you even incur any student loan debt. Pretty cool, right? For most forgiveness programs, you have to borrow student loans, and later repay them after graduation or while you’re still in school. But the TEACH grant helps you to avoid any student loans by paying for your college tuition and fees, which you don’t have to pay back, that is, if you follow the guidelines to the detail. That’s why the grant serves as financial aid and forgiveness benefit at the same time. 

The guidelines involve a service commitment that you will have to comply with for you to be eligible for the federal teach grant. The service commitment requires that you work in a particular field in a low-income area as a teacher. Also, you have to look in the TEACH grant eligible institutions list to find out if your school takes part of the grant program. If you agree to the terms, which is not difficult, you’ll not be far away from getting your grant. If you satisfy the agreement terms, the federal government will offer a maximum of $4,000 to you.

How To Acquire A Federal TEACH Grant

First of all, you have to sign the TEACH Grant Counseling and Agreement to Serve (ATS) before you get the grant. In the agreement terms, you have to comply with the following:

  1. You have to agree to serve in a high-need area 
  2. Serve at a secondary school, elementary school, or an agency in the education service, which aids students who come from low-income families. 
  3. You must teach for a minimum of four academic years, complete, in the eight-year degree program you completed or dropped out in which you used the TEACH grant to make payments. 

 

Another side of the federal TEACH grant is that, if you are not able to meet all the requirements in the ATS, the government will convert your TEACH grant into an unsubsidized loan. When that happens, you’ll have to pay back your student loans on your own. Also, take note that, you’ll not only pay back the loans, but pay any interests charged on the student loan. 

 

The interest begins with the first disbursement of your TEACH grant. In a nutshell, you could wind up with thousands of dollars of student loans, which you have to repay all by yourself. So, we recommend that you weigh your options to make sure you can complete all the requirements before you sign up for the agreement. 

 

To weigh your decisions, we recommend seeking advice from an expert in the field. You can contact us and we will gladly help you out to make the right decision. 

Who Qualifies For The Federal TEACH Grant

The federal student aid TEACH grant is not available to every student. But if you compare other similar grant programs, you have a better chance to qualify the TEACH grant because it’s simple. The following are the eligibility qualifications needed: 

 

  1. You must be eligible for the primary requirement conditions for the federal student aid program 
  2. Complete the FAFSA application 
  3. You should enroll in a post-baccalaureate, undergraduate, or a graduate program in an institution that takes part in the grant program. 
  4. You should have an academic score of 75th percentile on at least one of the school’s admission tests, while holding a cumulative GPA of 3.35 minimum. Also, you should meet other conditions set by your institution’s financial aid office. 
  5. Enroll in a TEACH grant counsel. The counsel describes the terms and guidelines of your service agreement and the obligations required of you when you take part in the program. You should complete the TEACH grant counsel each year 
  6. Sign the ATS agreement

Programs That Qualify For The Federal TEACH Grant

The TEACH grant does not accept every certificate program or college degrees. The programs that qualify are the ones that give you a Master’s degree or Bachelor’s degree. If your institution doesn’t offer a Master’s degree, you can opt for the post-baccalaureate degree. The reason is that the US Department of Education designed the TEACH grant eligibility programs to prepare you to become a highly qualified teacher for a high-need field. 

 

Keep this in mind: two-year programs such as Associate’s degree programs, eligible towards a Bachelor’s degree with full credit and all, can partake in the TEACH grant program. However, if an institution provides a Bachelor’s degree, a post-baccalaureate will not qualify for the TEACH grant. 

 

Remember that the Bachelor’s degree and the post-baccalaureate degree offered at two different institutions may not qualify for the TEACH grant. The reason is because the institutions decide which program the TEACH grant will support. So if you want to be sure that the program you are offering is eligible for the TEACH grant, contact your school’s financial aid officers and inquire. 

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TEACH Grant Counseling And Agreement To Serve (ATS)

The ATS is the contract agreement form you sign before the TEACH grant gets released to you. You have to sign the contract each year to inform the federal government you are still adhering to your part of the agreement. Also, signing the contract each year prevents your grant from changing into a student loan in which you’ll have to pay yourself. 

 

To find the TEACH Grant Counseling and Agreement To Serve, you’ll have to visit the official website of the TEACH grant. Remember to meet all the conditions in the agreement; otherwise, the government will convert your grant into a federal student loan. Also, the primary factor to consider when signing up for the TEACH grant is to know if you can complete all the requirements. If you cannot adhere 100 percent to the conditions, we recommend that you choose a federal student loan and have a financial expert show you how to repay your loans without becoming an obstacle later in life.

Eligibility Requirements For Federal TEACH Grant

There are specific conditions and terms you need to meet before you can qualify for the federal student aid TEACH grant. The requirements are as follows: 

  1. You have to teach for a minimum of four years academically, full-time, within the eight years you used the TEACH grant to graduate a program or dropped out of a program. 
  2. Serve as a highly qualified teacher in a low-income school or serve in an agency in the education service, which helps low-income students. 
  3. You must teach in an eligible high-need field
  4. You should submit a progress report to the US Department of Education, which proves that you are adhering to the TEACH grant service requirements. 

 

Recently, the Department of Education updated its requirements to include annual certifications for all students who took out TEACH grants. The new rule started in 2019, with a certification date on October 31. 

Here’s how it works. 

Every year, you submit a document proving that you finished your teaching service for the year, that is, if you already graduated. But if you are currently in school, you have to sign a statement that proves that you have agreed to complete the service commitment. You send the certification to the FedLoan Servicing each year on October 31. 

 

In case you don’t submit your certification by October 31, you have a chance to ask for a grace period. Usually, they’ll send notifications to alert you that your grant is at risk of turning into a federal loan. If you don’t respond quickly, then they will convert your TEACH grant into a federal loan.  

High-Need Field

The US Department of Education considers the following teaching fields to be a high-need due to the many students who need the programs and the number of teachers who provides these programs:

  • Mathematics
  • Special Education 
  • Science
  • Foreign language
  • Reading specialists
  • English language and bilingual education 

 

Take note that the list outlined above is not the only program listed. There may have been some additions. Find out from the official Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide List (TSA). Also find out about the TEACH grant eligible institutions list to find out if your school is part of it. Make sure that your field of service is in the state where you will be teaching, and it should be during the time you started the TEACH grant program or during the time you obtained the TEACH grant. Also, be sure that your field is listed in the Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide list document.  

 

If you don’t follow the rules, you’ll breach the contract in which your federal student aid TEACH grant will change to a federal student loan. When that happens, you will have to pay back your student loan with interest. If you are still not clear about the TEACH grant eligible Institutions list, you can contact your institution’s financial aid officer to help you out. 

Temporal Suspension of the Federal TEACH Grant

If something inconvenient happened when you were finishing the service commitment, you could ask for a temporary suspension of your eight years duration allocated to complete the required four years of qualified teaching. If you come across one of the following circumstances, you can legally request to put a temporary hold up on your service requirement: 

  • You could delay your requirement deadline if you enrolled in a degree program related to the TEACH grant after you have started the service commitment. 
  • If you have a medical condition described under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you can ask for a temporary suspension of your eight years qualification requirement deadline 
  • If you got a call to return to active duty for 30 days in the Armed Forces, you could have a temporary suspension on the deadline. Similarly, if you return to active service due to a military operation, national emergency, or war in the National Guard, you can ask the federal government to delay your required deadline. 

 

Remember that the suspensions are not permanent as far as the reasons you gave still stands. You can’t defer over three years in your requirement duration if you enroll in an educational program or medical leave. The same goes for the military service. If you get a suspension in the TEACH grant program commitment, the eight-year duration is put on hold in the entire suspension period. But the time runs again if the suspension ends. 

 

Here’s an example, if you get two years of suspension after you have finished serving one year, which is part of the eight years, you will have to complete six years of your commitment after the suspension expires. The suspension only delays the deadline; it doesn’t stop your service commitment.

Can You Get Multiple Federal TEACH Grant?

Short answer, yes. It’s possible to get several TEACH grants. You can obtain many TEACH grants for every year you study. Also, you can create two different TEACH grant service commitment: 

  1. When you create one or several TEACH grant for graduate programs
  2. When you open several TEACH grant for undergraduate programs 

One huge benefit is that you can make a twice count on your teaching time after you graduate. It means you have to be a teacher for four years to be eligible for both grant service commitments. 

 

It is a massive jackpot that can get you out of enormous college debts, only if you plan this properly. If you need help on how to proceed, we can help you. Contact us, and our team will assist you all the way. 

How To Apply For The Federal TEACH Grant

Here are the steps necessary to apply for the TEACH grant. Follow the steps carefully to make sure you don’t miss out on anything, and get disqualified. 

 

  1. The first process is to contact your financial aid office at your institution and find out if they are part of the TEACH grant eligible institutions list. Not every academic institution is part of the grant program, so be sure that your school takes part. 
  2. Apply for the federal TEACH grant program by completing a FAFSA. You will need to visit the official website of the Federal Student Aid 
  3. You will have to finish a TEACH Grant Initial Counseling and the ATS. 
  4. Fill out all the applications of the ATS. It’s a document in which you fill in to officially request a federal TEACH grant and also officially join the program.

TEACH Grant Initial Counseling

It’s a procedure that shows you everything about the TEACH grant program and the TEACH Grant service commitment. It illustrates to you what to expect, and how you enroll in the program. As a requirement, you’ll have to finish the counseling procedure every year that you get a TEACH grant. 

The counseling covers the majority of the topic covered in this guide, together with other in-depth information on the TEACH grant: 

  • ATS
  • Service obligation
  • The procedure involved in changing a grant into a federal loan (if you fail to meet the service obligation requirement)

Every section of the counseling ends with a quiz to make sure you fully understand the requirements.

TEACH Grant Agreement To Service (ATS)

The ATS is a legally binding agreement and entails the following details: 

  • It gives in-depth information about the TEACH grant service commitment. 
  • The ATS gives detailed information on TEACH grant being changed into a federal Direct Loan
  • It describes the repayment conditions that apply to Direct Loan, if the TEACH grant converts. 

It’s worth stating again that you should not sign the document if you cannot finish the expected service obligation. The reason is that, if you fail to meet the requirement, the consequences can be disastrous. 

The Recent TEACH Grant Program Updates

The federal government recently announced that they would conclude a process that will permit the people whose TEACH grants converted to federal loans to request a reconsideration of the conversion.

 

Also, the Department of Education reduced the TEACH grant funds, but the amount of money cut is small. Here’s a further explanation of the recent updates. 

Reconsideration of Your Converted TEACH Grant

If you had your TEACH grant converted because you failed to complete one of your yearly certifications, you might have a chance to change it back to a TEACH grant. However, it works if you are satisfied or are satisfying the grant service commitment conditions. Remember that you can only be eligible if you missed your annual certifications. The government is still working on how the procedure will carry out. 

Reduction In The TEACH Grant Funds

In 2011, Congress enacted a new law that revealed that the TEACH grants would be reduced in the future, so that they can save money to keep the program running. The government implemented the reductions in two periods. So it meant that you’d get a 6.2% or 6.6%, which depended on where you received your TEACH grant. 

 

Here’s how the TEACH grant works: 

Any grant released after or on October 1, 2017, and before the said date reduced by 6.6%. That was a $264 reduction. So the total amount of the grant was $3.736. In the same way, grants released after or on October 1, 2018, and before the said date were reduced to 6.2%. The reduction was $248. The total grant was $3,752. 

One Final TEACH Grant Program Requirement

For the final requirement, you must submit a statement to your TEACH grant servicer that you will carry out your service commitment after you complete the degree program the TEACH grant funded. It’s a simple process put in place to make sure that you will complete the program, and also make sure your grant won’t convert into a federal loan. 

 

So you have to show evidence to the grant servicer that you are a full-time teacher in a service area that is in line with the service agreement. If you are not working as a teacher yet, you can still submit the statement to let them know that you still plan on completing your side of the agreement. The grant servicer will alert you of your 120-day certification when the time is due. 

 

Also, search to know if your institution is part of the TEACH grant eligible institutions list. It will determine whether you get the TEACH grant or not.

Issues With The TEACH Grant

The Department of Education has received its fair share of a backlash of reports claiming that most of the people’s TEACH grants converted to federal loans with no justifiable cause. The first incident came up in the 2015 report, which came from the Government Accountability Office. In 2013 and 2014, many teachers, thousands of them, had their TEACH grant converted to federal loans due to a mistake on the part of the government. 

 

The Department of Education conducted a study in 2018 about the problem. In the survey, 63% of people who started their service obligation before 2014 had their TEACH grants converted to federal loans. Interestingly, 32% were due to a mistake that caused people’s grants to convert to a federal loan. Most of these issues are a result of not handling the paperwork correctly. Lack of communication from the grant servicer on certification deadlines was also the cause. 

 

Due to the many problems, the federal government established a standard annual certification deadline, which is October 31. The loan servicer, FedLoan Servicing, alerts all the people who received the TEACH grant with details to submit service documents or reason for completing the service obligation. 

Other Repayment Plans If The TEACH Grant Fails Entirely

If your TEACH grant fails and doesn’t qualify for reconsideration, you’ll still need to pay back your student loans. You will pay any interest that accrues. You will have a grace period of six months within which you will not repay your loans. But the interest will increase. It will start from the day after the TEACH grant converted into a federal loan. 

 

When the grace period expires, your servicer will alert you concerning your first payment of your loan and your repayment plan. You can select from the four Income-Driven Repayment plans, extended repayment, or graduated repayment. There are also forgiveness programs for teachers, which is ideal if you want to pay back your student loans. That is, if you still want to be a teacher. 

Loan Forgiveness Programs For Teachers

There are many opportunities to get rid of your loans as a teacher. The TEACH grant is not the only option available. The loan forgiveness for teachers provides excellent ways to clear your debt. But each program has its standard requirements depending on the type of loan you have. Here are some of the programs which you can qualify: 

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program

The US Department of Education didn’t establish the PSLF specifically for teachers. But you can get rid of your loans using the PSLF program. You have to work in the education sector, healthcare, government sector, or nonprofit organization to be eligible. Also, you have to meet a 120 monthly payment rule without missing a payment. Only when you do that can you get your outstanding loan debt forgiven.  

Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Help

If you struggle with university student loan forgiveness, then you should get help with that. Because the employees in these agencies are dealing with the student loans every day and they have enough experience for solving different kinds of student loan problems.

Perkins Loan Forgiveness

The Perkins loan forgiveness provides total forgiveness for teachers if they: 

  • Serve a minimum of one year in the education sector, full-time.
  • Commit a year at an institution that offers education for low-income families, special education teacher or serves in an area with a shortage of eligible teachers.

Stafford Loan Forgiveness

The Stafford loan forgiveness provides maximum loan forgiveness of $17,500 for teachers with Stafford loans. There’s one merit that Stafford loans have over Perkins loans. You can stack the Stafford loan benefits with the Iowa loan forgiveness. That way, you can get benefits from both programs at the same time.  

 

Of course, there is a lot of information on these forgiveness programs. Search on our page to find out which student loan forgiveness program or repayment program will benefit you. The most important thing is to find the right forgiveness program that can help you get out of debt faster and pursue your career. 

 

Before you make a decision, we recommend talking to an expert to find out which forgiveness program will help you get out of debt quickly. If you are facing challenges, we can assist you in your decision making. Contact us right now so that we can help you. 

Conclusion

The federal TEACH grant is an excellent way to pay for your degree program with basically free money. Ideally, it’s a good idea to begin with a federal loan before searching somewhere else to get money for your college. However, the TEACH grant is unique in such a way that you can determine if you will be able to meet all the TEACH grant program conditions before you graduate from school. 

 

If you are not sure if the teaching career is the right decision, it may be a good idea to look at other places to help repay your student loans. But, if you are sure that the teaching career is the right choice for you, the grant can help. And also, if you are certain that you can relocate to the low-income area for a long time, then the TEACH grant is the best choice for you to clear your student loans. 

 

 If your grant converted to loans and did not qualify for reconsideration, there are other means to pay back your student loans. You can check out the IDR plans, graduated repayment, or extended repayment. Each of them has its pros and cons, so you need to choose carefully.

 

There are other forgiveness programs available which you can try. If you need help on which repayment program, forgiveness program or grant like the federal TEACH grant to choose, we can do that. It’s better to have a clear plan on how to clear off your debt as quickly as possible without difficulties.