TEACH Grant Fact Sheet
Shared by: hardknockin
TEACH Grant FAQ’s July 2008 The TEACH Grants are authorized in the College Cost Reduction and Access Act which was enacted into law in the fall of 2007. The program began July 1, 2008 and is authorized for five years. These are grants to recruit teachers into hard-to-staff fields and low-income schools. Grants of up to $16,000 ($4000/year) for undergraduates and $8,000 for Master’s degree seeking students can be used to cover the cost of tuition and other school-expenses. Grantees will then complete a four-year teaching service obligation in a high-need field at a school that receives Title I funds. Early in 2008, a negotiated rulemaking committee met to develop regulations for the program. There were several representatives from schools of education at AACTE institutions on the panel including Sandy Robinson (University of Central Florida, Bill Graves (Old Dominion University), Bob Hendricks (University of Arizona), Jan Lariviere (University of Kansas), and Herbert Brunkhorst (California State University at San Bernardino). In addition, Jane West, AACTE Vice President for Government and External Relations, served as an alternate on the panel. Draft regulations were released in March for public comment and final regulations were released in late June. Shortage Areas What are the shortage fields in which a TEACH Grant recipient can teach in order to fulfill the service obligation? The federal statute lists six high-need fields: mathematics, science, bilingual education, special education, foreign languages, and reading specialist. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education has added English language acquisition as a sub-field of bilingual education. The fields mentioned above will remain shortage fields for the duration of the TEACH Grant program. States and local education agencies can also declare other fields as shortage fields so long as they get these fields approved by the U.S. Secretary of Education. These fields can change year-to-year (see the section on “service obligation” for more details). The U.S. Department of Education provides a state- by-state listing of shortage fields. Institutional Eligibility How do institutions sign up to participate in the TEACH Grants? Institutions of higher education will offer the TEACH Grants to their students. The U.S. Department of Education has released a “Dear Colleague” letter that outlines how institutions sign up for the program and how the institution documents its eligibility to offer TEACH Grants. Which institutions of higher education are eligible to offer the TEACH Grants? The institution must offer high quality teacher preparation and professional development services which include extensive clinical experiences as part of the pre-service preparation. The institution must provide pedagogical coursework or assistance in the preparation of such coursework, including the monitoring of student performance and formal instruction related to the theory and practice of teaching. The institution must provide supervision and support services to teachers, or assistance in the provision of such services, including mentoring focused on developing effective teaching skills and strategies. Can community colleges be TEACH Grant eligible institutions? Yes. The institution must offer a program of study that is eligible for full credit at a baccalaureate degree granting institution with which it has an agreement. Is there a limit on the number of TEACH Grants an institution can provide to students? No. Funding for TEACH Grants is mandatory funding. As such, as much funding as is needed for the TEACH Grant applicants will be provided. Who is responsible for providing the financial aid counseling for the TEACH Grants? For the first year of the TEACH Grant program, institutions of higher education will be responsible for providing the counseling. After this period, the U.S. Department of Education will provide the counseling through online means. Program Eligibility What are TEACH Grant eligible programs? Institutions have the flexibility to determine which of their programs of study are TEACH Grant eligible. For example: • Institutions can choose to only offer TEACH Grants in their special education teacher preparation programs • Institutions can choose to only offer TEACH Grants for their Master’s degree programs in shortage areas. • Institutions can choose to only offer TEACH Grants to those students admitted to the school, college or department of education. • Institutions can choose to only offer TEACH Grants to those who have formally declared a major in the shortage area. • Institutions can choose to offer TEACH Grants in fields not designated as “high-need” but would provide content knowledge to teacher candidates/teachers who plan to or are teaching in a “high- need” field. o For example, a math teacher who wants to get her MBA and will use that degree to enhance her content knowledge and teaching skills. Student Eligibility Which students are eligible for a TEACH Grant? To qualify for a TEACH Grant, an applicant who is enrolled as an undergraduate student must have at least a 3.25 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale). If the student is in the first year of college, the grade point average standard applies to the student’s cumulative high school record. Alternatively, an applicant qualifies if he or she scores above the 75th percentile on at least one of the batteries in an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate or graduate school admissions test. Students who qualify for the TEACH Grants under the GPA requirement, must maintain a 3.25 GPA for the duration of time he or she receives the TEACH Grant. For students who qualified for the TEACH Grants under the admissions test requirements, he or she does not need to maintain the 3.25 GPA. However, the GPA requirements do not apply to certain applicants who will be working on a graduate degree. Those applicants include a current teacher or retiree from another occupation with expertise in a field where there is a shortage of teachers. If an applicant is a graduate student, he or she must be a teacher or a retiree from another occupation with expertise in a field where there is a shortage of teachers or complete a high quality alternative certification, such as Teach for America. How will students and others be able to apply for this grant? Once a student has confirmed that the institution offers TEACH Grants and that the program of study he or she is pursuing is TEACH Grant eligible, the student should fill out the FAFSA form and check the box that indicates that he or she would like to pursue a teaching career. The institution, in the first year, will provide financial aid counseling about the TEACH Grant program and have the student sign an “agreement to serve” each year he or she received a TEACH Grant. Service Obligation What are the teaching service requirements? The grantee must complete four academic years of full-time teaching within an eight year period. Additionally, the teaching service obligation must take place in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school that is eligible for assistance under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as provided in section 465(a)(2) of the Higher Education Act. At the completion of each year, the grantee must submit to the U.S. Department of Education verification of his/her employment. What happens if a TEACH Grant recipient is prepared in a shortage field that is either no longer a shortage field when he/she begins the service obligation or if during the service obligation that field is not longer considered a shortage area? The following applies only to those are preparing to teach in a state-designated or local-designated high-need field not for those who are teaching or preparing to teach in the high-need fields listed in the federal statute. Under current law, a TEACH Grant recipient would have to change to teaching in a shortage field as designated by the federal statute or by the state or local education agency in order to fulfill the service obligation. The draft Higher Education Act reauthorization bill contains an amendment that would essentially grandfather students into their service obligation, i.e. students who are prepared in a high-need field would be able to complete their service obligation in that field regardless of whether that field is a shortage field at the beginning of the service obligation or ceases to be a shortage field during the time of the service obligation. Who is responsible for tracking the TEACH Grant recipients once they complete their preparation program? The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for this. TEACH Grant recipients will submit to the Department at the completion of each year of teaching a verification that he/she taught in a high-need field in a low-income school. What happens if a grantee does not complete the service obligation? If a grantee does not complete the service obligation or decides during the undergraduate or graduate program that he or she doesn’t want to continue, the grant converts to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan that the student must pay back. The final regulations for the TEACH Grants allow for a 6-month grace period between when a student’s grant converts to a loan and when he/she must start paying it back. Interest on the loan starts accruing from the date of the first grant payment. Please note that the default rate on the TEACH Grants will not be included in the institution’s default rate. How can institutions find out more about the TEACH Grants? To access the final regulations go to http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2008- 2/063008a.html To access the “Dear Colleague” go to http://www.ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/060308GEN0807.html To access the federal statute for the TEACH Grants go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2008/teachstatute.pdf To view previous AACTE/NASFFA webinars on the TEACH Grants go to http://www.nasfaa.org/redesign/WebinarCenter.asp For additional information contact Mary Harrill-McClellan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 293-2450.