The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant can help reduce your education fees in exchange for promising service after graduation. The TEACH grant amount can reduce expenses up to $4,000 annually. However, you will have to pay back the grant if you do not fulfill your end of the bargain.
The TEACH grant application is the FAFSA form, and you will need to submit the application each year of your studies. The grant also requires you to complete counseling and sign a new service agreement annually.
The TEACH grant requirements differ from other Pell Grants since it comes with a service obligation. Should you fail to adhere to the agreement, the grant will convert to a loan that you must repay with interest.
The Agreement to Serve (ATS) states you must:
- Teach in a high-need field, such as math, science, foreign language, and special education.
- Work at an elementary or secondary school with low-income students for at least four years. You can find a list of qualifying institutions on the Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) directory. You can also work for a school that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) operates.
- Complete the mandatory four years of service within eight years of graduating.
The four-year service requirement applies to undergraduate programs and graduate studies. You will need to teach for four years at a qualifying institution for accepting TEACH grants for your bachelor’s and then another four years for your master’s or professional degree if you pursue it, for a total of eight years.
In some situations, you can request a temporary suspension of service, such as having a condition that falls under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Likewise, your or your spouse’s military orders can suspend the requirement. The government reviews requests on a case-by-case basis.
To qualify for TEACH grants, you must meet the criteria for federal student aid programs and academic achievement in a qualifying teaching program. In most cases, this means having a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher or scoring above the 75th percentile of a college admissions test.
You must provide documentation of completing your four years of required service with your TEACH Grant servicer. Your chief administrative officer or a representative at the educational service agency where you work must certify that you were a highly qualified teacher at a low-income school who taught in a high-need field.
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