The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides up to $4,000 per year in grants for graduate and undergraduate students who intend to teach full-time in high-need subject areas for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families. Students may receive up to $16,000 for undergraduate study and up to $8,000 for graduate study. Part-time students are eligible, but the maximum grant will be reduced.
If you fail to complete the four-year teaching obligation, you will have to repay the grant as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan with interest accruing from the date of initial disbursement.
Student Eligibility Requirements
To receive a TEACH Grant you must:
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), although you do not have to demonstrate financial need;
- Meet the eligibility requirements for Federal Title IV Aid;
- Enroll in a TEACH Grant program at Nicholls. Eligible programs are those that prepare a student to teach in a high-need area. The high need subject areas are: Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition; Foreign Language; Mathematics; Reading Specialist; Science; Special Education; and other teacher shortage areas listed in the Department of Education’s Annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing.
- Meet one of the following academic achievement requirements:
- Score above the 75th percentile on a college admissions test (e.g. SAT or ACT) or
- Graduate from high school with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 (on a 4.0 scale) to receive a grant as a freshman, or
- Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 (on a 4.0 scale) on your college coursework to receive a grant for each subsequent term;
- Complete TEACH Grant counseling online;
- Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve or Repay and respond to requests by the U.S. Department of Education confirming your continuing intention to meet the teaching obligation.
Agreement to Serve and Repay
Each year you receive a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and Repay (service agreement) electronically on the Department of Education’s web site. The TEACH Grant service agreement specifies the conditions under which the grant will be awarded, the teaching service requirements, and includes an acknowledgment that you understand that if you do not meet the teaching service requirements you must repay the grant as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, with interest accrued from the date the grant funds were first disbursed.
To avoid repaying the TEACH Grant with interest you must be a highly-qualified, full-time teacher in a high-need subject area for at least four years at a school serving low-income students. You must complete the four years of teaching within eight years of finishing the program for which you received the grant. You incur a four-year teaching obligation for each educational program for which you received TEACH Grant funds, although you may work off multiple four-year obligations simultaneously under certain circumstances. Specific definitions of these terms are included below.
You must perform the teaching service as a highly-qualified teacher, which is defined in federal law. The definition of a highly-qualified teacher can be found at https://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg107.html.
You must meet the state’s definition of a full time teacher and spend the majority (at least 51 percent) of your time teaching one of the high-need subject areas. Elementary teachers who teach many subjects are responsible for ensuring they are meeting all requirements set forth in their service agreement.
Schools Serving Low-Income Students
Elementary and secondary schools (public and private) and educational service agencies serving low-income students are listed in the annual Teacher Cancellation Low-Income Directory.
You must respond promptly to any requests for information or documentation from the U.S. Department of Education, even if they seem repetitive. These requests will be sent to you while you are still in school as well as once you are out of school. You will be asked regularly to confirm that you either still intend to teach or that you are teaching as required. You must provide documentation to the U.S. Department of Education at the end of each year of teaching.
If you temporarily cease enrollment in your program of study or if you encounter situations that affect your ability to begin or continue teaching, you will need to stay in touch with the U.S. Department of Education to avoid your grants being converted to loans before you are able to complete your teaching obligation.
Failure to complete the teaching obligation, respond to requests for information, or properly document your teaching service will cause the TEACH Grant to be permanently converted to a loan with interest. Once a grant is converted to a loan it can’t be converted back to a grant!