Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH)
Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.
If, after reading all of the information on this fact sheet, you are interested in learning more about the TEACH Grant Program, you should contact the financial aid office at the college where you will be enrolled.
In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students (see below for more information on high-need fields and schools serving low-income students).
As a recipient of a TEACH Grant, you must teach for at least four academic years within eight calendar years of completing the program of study for which you received a TEACH Grant.
IMPORTANT: If you fail to complete this service obligation, all amounts of TEACH Grants that you received will be converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. You must then repay this loan to the U.S. Department of Education. You will be charged interest from the date the grant(s) was disbursed. Note: TEACH Grant recipients will be given a 6-month grace period prior to entering repayment if a TEACH Grant is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
To receive a TEACH Grant you must meet the following criteria:
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM), although you do not have to demonstrate financial need.
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student in a postsecondary educational institution that has chosen to participate in the TEACH Grant Program.
- Be enrolled in course work that is necessary to begin a career in teaching or plan to complete such course work. Such course work may include subject area courses (e.g., math courses for a student who intends to be a math teacher).
- Meet certain academic achievement requirements (generally, scoring above the 75th percentile on a college admissions test or maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25).
- Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (see below for more information on the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve).
High-need fields are the specific areas identified below:
- Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition.
- Foreign Language.
- Reading Specialist.
- Special Education.
- Other identified teacher shortage areas as of the time you begin teaching in that field. These are teacher subject shortage areas (not geographic areas) that are listed in the Department of Education’s Annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing.
As of July 1, 2010, a recipient of an initial TEACH Grant who has received an academic degree, or expertise, in a field that was, at the time the recipient signed the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve, designated as high-need, but no longer has that designation, can fulfill the service obligation associated with the TEACH Grant by teaching in that high-need field.
Schools Serving Low-Income Students
Schools serving low-income students include any elementary or secondary school that is listed in the Department of Education’s Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits.
Each year you receive a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve that is available electronically on the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve Web site.
The TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve specifies the conditions under which the grant will be awarded, the teaching service requirements, and includes an acknowledgment by you 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 disbursed.
Specifically, the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve will require the following:
- 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.
If you receive a TEACH Grant but do not complete the required teaching service, as explained above, you will be required to repay the grants as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
If you meet the above criteria and are in interested in receiving a Federal TEACH Grant, complete the VCU Federal TEACH Grant request form, available on the VCU Financial Aid web site under FORMS.
This page provides a preliminary summary of the TEACH Grant Program based on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. The information on this page is subject to change and is not binding on the Department of Education or Virginia Commonwealth University.