If you are looking to enter the teaching profession, and have no problem agreeing to work in a school that serves students from low-income families, then a federal TEACH Grant (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) is something you should look into.
Grants are a great way to fund your education because they do not have to be paid back. However, this one comes with some important strings attached that you need to be aware of before applying.
What's the Catch?
This program provides up to $4,000 per year to those students pursuing a teaching career. In order to get the money, though, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve, which you, among other things, to teach
- in a high-need field
- in a school or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families
- for at least 4 complete academic years within 8 years of graduation from your school or ceasing enrollment
You Must Teach in a "High-Needs" Field
The first requirement might be a sticking point if you do not want to teach a subject that is considered a “high-need field.” But what are they? They are:
- Bilingual education and English language acquisition
- Foreign language
- Reading specialist
- Special Education
In addition to these, there are other fields that can be identified as “high-need” by the federal or state government or a local education agency, and that is included in the annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing. These fields must be listed for your state either at the time you get your grant or when you start your teaching service period.
Can I Get One of These?
Wondering if you can get a TEACH Grant? Well, there are some requirements. You must:
- Meet the requirements for federal student aid
- Fill out a FAFSA form
- Be enrolled in a school that participates in the TEACH Grant program
- Be enrolled in that school in a TEACH Grant eligible program
- Meet certain academic achievement requirements (available from the financial aid office of the school)
- Receive TEACH Grant counseling on the service obligation each year that you receive a grant
- Sign an Agreement to Serve
The stick that goes with the carrot is that if you do not live up to the Agreement to Serve the grant gets converted to an unsubsidized loan with interest accrued from the date you got the money and going forward until it is paid!
If you are looking for more information about federal financial aid for college, then download my free book, Applying for Federal Financial Aid: The Definitive Guide for Students and Parents.
For more information about what happens after you graduate, get my free book, I Graduated; Now What? A Guide to Dealing with Your Student Loans.
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