A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is a federal grant to support and recruit new teachers in underserved fields and in areas that are difficult to staff. Grants are awarded in amounts of $4,000 per year for a maximum of four years for undergraduates and two years for graduate students in teacher prep programs.
Students must enroll at eligible institutions in order to qualify for the TEACH grants. In order to offer TEACH grants, both the teacher preparation program and the host institution must meet eligibility requirements laid out by the Department of Education.Eligible programslead to a bachelor’s or master’s degree, or offer post-baccalaureate programs, and are designed to prepare highly qualified teachers in high-need field. Two-year programs that are eligible to transfer full credit toward a bachelor’s degree are also eligible. A post-baccalaureate program is TEACH-Grant-eligible only if it is offered by a school that does not offer a bachelor’s degree in education.
Once students have verified that their institution is eligible, they must ensure that they meet the personal eligibility requirements. Recipients are expected to score in the top 25th percentile on college admissions tests such as the SAT or ACT and maintain at least a 3.25 GPA.
After completing theprogram, awardees must agree to complete a teaching service obligation of at least 4 years in a high-need field at a Title I school. If the service obligation is not completed, the TEACH grant funds convert will to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan with all retroactive interest applied.
Current Issues with TEACH Grant
In early 2018, several teachers came forward claiming that their TEACH grants had been revoked and turned into Stafford Loans even though they were still completing their teaching obligation. Teachers are required to submit documents proving that they are completing their obligation to FedLoan, the company hired by the Department of Education to handle TEACH grants. A study conducted by the Department of Education found that over several years, thousands of teachers had their grants revoked and converted to loans despite having met their program requirements, often due to small oversights in paperwork.
Other teachers said they were confused by the certification paperwork, citing that the process was too challenging, while still others said they were unaware of this requirement.
While the Department of Education is beginning to address this, in the meantime it is important for awardees and potential awardees to be incredibly diligent about their paperwork.