Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program
On September 27, 2007, President Bush signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (H.R. 2669) into law. Through this legislation, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program. The TEACH Grant Program provides up to $4,000 a year in grant assistance to students who agree to serve for at least four years as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.
The grant recipient must teach for at least four consecutive years within eight years of completing the program for which the TEACH grant was awarded. If the student fails to complete the required teaching service, or fails to meet certain other requirements, the TEACH Grant is treated as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan with interest accruing from the date the grant was disbursed.
Eligibility Requirements for Roanoke College Students:
- TEACH recipients must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
- Students must be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen;
- Must be enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or post-baccalaureate teacher credential program;
- Be enrolled in coursework that is necessary to begin a career in teaching or plan to complete such coursework.
- Recipients must meet certain academic achievement requirements (students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.25);
- TEACH recipients must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve each year that he or she is scheduled to receive a TEACH Grant award (see below for more information on the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve);
- Must not have yet earned a Bachelor's Degree or Post-Baccalaureate degree.
Amount: The TEACH Grant program will provide up to $4,000 a year in grant aid to undergraduate and graduate students and students enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher credential program, or current or prospective teachers. Eligible undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students may not receive more than $16,000 and graduate students may receive no more than $8,000 in total TEACH Grants.
Students enrolled less than full-time will have their TEACH Grant reduced according to the schedule established by the Department of Education in federal regulations. The amount of the TEACH Grant awarded when combined with other student aid may not exceed a student's cost of attendance (COA).
Agreement to Serve: TEACH Grant recipients must complete an Agreement to Serve (ATS) electronically via the ATS Web site each year that he or she is scheduled to receive a TEACH Grant award. The ATS will explain the service obligation that must be fulfilled, the circumstances that will result in the TEACH Grant being converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and, if the TEACH Grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, the terms and conditions associated with repaying the loan. Roanoke will receive electronic notification once this requirement is met. A TEACH Grant fact sheet will also be available on the ATS Website for additional information.
The ATS will provide that:
- For each TEACH Grant-eligible program for which you received TEACH Grant funds, you must serve as a full-time teacher for a total of at least four academic years within eight calendar years after you completed or withdrew from the academic program for which you received the TEACH Grant.
- You must perform the teaching service as a highly-qualified teacher at a low-income school. The term highly-qualified teacher is defined in section 9101(23) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 or in section 602(10) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- Your teaching service must be in a high-need field.
- You must comply with any other requirements that the Department of Education determines to be necessary.
- If you do not complete the required teaching service obligation, TEACH Grant funds you received will be converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan that you must repay, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
High-Need Field Requirement: More than half of your time teaching during each school year must be in a high-need field. For purpose of the TEACH Grant program, high-need fields are:
- Foreign language
- Bilingual education
- English language acquisition
- Special education
- Reading specialist or
- Another field listed in the Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing (Nationwide List) that is issued annually by the Department. In order to satisfy your service obligation by teaching in another high-need field listed in the Nationwide List, that field must be listed in the Nationwide List for the state in which you begin teaching at the time you begin teaching in that field. If you begin qualifying teaching serve in a high-need field that is listed on the Nationwide List, but in subsequent school years of teaching that high-need field is no longer included in the Nationwide List, your subsequent years of teaching will continue to qualify for purposes of satisfying your TEACH Grant service obligation
What schools are considered to be "serving low-income students"? For purposes of the TEACH Grant Program, a low-income school is a public or private elementary or secondary school that is listed in the Department's Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits. Other identified teacher shortage areas can be found online at: https://ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/pol/tsa.doc.
Initial, Subsequent and Exit Counseling Requirements: If you receive a TEACH Grant, you will be required to participate in annual initial and subsequent counseling sessions. All TEACH recipients will also be required to participate in an Exit Counseling session. All sessions will be conducted online and will include information about the following:
- Terms and conditions of the Agreement to Serve,
- Information on how to identify low-income schools and documented high-need fields,
- How to request a suspension of the eight-year period for completion of service,
- Conditions under with the TEACH Grant converts to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Terms & conditions of a Direct Unsubsidized Loan
What Should I Remember to Keep my TEACH Grant from Becoming a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan?
To prevent the TEACH Grant from becoming a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, it is very important that you complete your teaching service obligation and promptly respond to periodic requests for information from the Department's Direct Loan Servicing Center (DLSC).
You must provide documentation to the DLSC at the end of each year of teaching. Staying in touch with the DLSC can keep your grant from being converted to a loan before you are able to complete your teaching obligation.
If you do not complete your teaching service obligation or do not meet other requirements of the TEACH Grant Program, this can result in a significant loan burden.
Documenting your Teaching Service Obligation: Unless you receive a suspension of the eight-year period for completing the service obligation or your service obligation is discharged, you must confirm to the Department in writing within 120 days after you have completed or are otherwise no longer enrolled in the program for which you received a TEACH Grant that:
- You are employed as a full-time teacher in accordance with the terms and conditions described in the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve; or
- You are not yet employed as a full-time teacher, but you intend to meet the terms and conditions of your service obligation.
You should refer to the Agreement to Serve website for instructions on how to document your service obligation with the Department.
What Happens if My Grant is Converted to an Unsubsidized Loan? The TEACH grant will be converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan if:
- The TEACH Grant recipient, regardless of enrollment status, requests the conversion,
- Within 120 days of ceasing enrollment, the recipient fails to notify the Department of Education that he or she is employed, or intends to pursue employment, as a full-time teacher in accordance with the Agreement to Serve.
- Within one year of ceasing enrollment:
- The recipient has not been determined eligible for a suspension,
- The recipient has not re-enrolled in a TEACH Grant eligible program, or
- The recipient has not begun teaching service in accordance with Agreement to Serve
- The grant recipient completes the course of study and
- Does not actively confirm to the Department, at least annually, his or her intention to satisfy the Agreement to Serve,
- Fails to begin or maintain qualified employment within a timeframe that would allow recipients to complete teaching service
A TEACH Grant recipient whose grant has converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan will enter into a six month grace period prior to entering repayment and will be eligible for all benefits of the Direct Loan Program, including in-school deferment. At no point can a TEACH grant that has been converted to a loan reconvert back to a TEACH Grant. Recipients will have 30 days from the date of conversion in which to pay accrued interest. Otherwise, interest will be capitalized as of the date of conversion.
Disclaimer: The TEACH Grant Program has many intricacies that you need to be aware of before you commit. You should contact our office to discuss further if this is a program from which you wish to benefit. While the Department of Education intends for many of these TEACH Grants to be "grant funds", there will be a large percentage that will convert to loans simply due to the stringent guidelines that they have set forth. You should make sure to have a very clear plan in place for your future before you decide to purse one of these grants.