TEACH Grants Invest in Educators

Funding for bilingual, ESL, and world-language educators

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant can help pay for college for prospective teachers who are willing to teach in a high-need field (like bilingual education, foreign languages, or English as a second language) and in a low-income area. TEACH grantees who are full-time students may receive up to $4,000 per year, for a maximum of $16,000 for college, and up to a maximum of $8,000 for graduate study. TEACH Grants are different from other federal student grants because they require students to take certain kinds of classes in order to get the grant, and then do a certain kind of job to keep the grant from turning into a loan. As a condition for receiving a TEACH Grant, grantees must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve in which they agree to teach in a high-need field at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which they received the grant. Grantees who don’t keep their end of the deal will see their grant turn into a loan that must be repaid to the Department of Education with interest.

To be eligible for a TEACH Grant, students must meet the basic eligibility criteria for federal student aid, complete the FAFSA, be in good academic standing, and be enrolled in a TEACH-Grant-eligible program, which is a program of study designed to prepare teachers in a high-need field and which leads to a bachelor’s or master’s degree or is a post-baccalaureate program.

It’s important to keep in mind that a program that is TEACH Grant eligible at one school might not be TEACH Grant eligible at another school. The school’s financial aid office knows all the particulars of the institution.

TEACH Grant recipients must sign an Agreement to Serve on the TEACH Grant website, which explains the terms and conditions for receiving a TEACH Grant, annually. The Agreement to Serve explains the service requirement and that students who fail to fulfill the requirements will have to pay back their grant dollars.

A TEACH grantee must:

• serve as a full-time teacher for a total of at least four academic years within eight years after completing or otherwise ceasing to be enrolled in the program;

• perform the teaching service as a highly qualified teacher at a low-income school or educational service agency, and teach in a high-need field, including bilingual education and English language acquisition, foreign language, mathematics, reading specialization, science, and special education;

• provide the U.S. Department of Education with documentation of progress toward completing the service obligation.

Grantees must teach students from low-income families as part of the service requirement. 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. In addition, elementary or secondary schools operated by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) or operated on Indian reservations by Indian tribal groups under contract or grant with the BIE qualify as low-income schools.

The TEACH Grant Program is an excellent opportunity for students who know they want to teach, and who are dedicated to serving the most vulnerable student populations. The grant money can ease the financial stress of college so that students can focus on becoming highly qualified educators. For more information, visit https://teach-ats.ed.gov.