What is The TEACH Grant?

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is a federal program designed to support future educators in financing their college education. Targeted towards individuals aiming to teach high-demand subjects in low-income schools, the TEACH Grant offers significant benefits alongside strict requirements.

What Does the TEACH Grant Offer?

The TEACH Grant provides financial aid to prospective teachers, enabling them to pursue undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate education. Recipients can receive up to $4,000 per year to help cover educational expenses. The Department of Education identifies high-need subjects eligible for TEACH Grants, including:

  • Mathematics
  • Science (including computer science)
  • Foreign language
  • Bilingual education
  • English language acquisition
  • Reading specialist
  • Special education

By incentivizing educators to specialize in these critical areas, the TEACH Grant aims to address the shortage of qualified teachers in essential fields, particularly in underserved communities.

Navigating TEACH Grant Eligibility: Who Qualifies?

To qualify for the TEACH Grant, aspiring educators must meet specific criteria aligned with federal student aid requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the key qualifications:

  1. Basic Eligibility:
    • Students must meet the standard eligibility criteria for federal student aid.
    • Enrollment in a school and program participating in the TEACH Grant program is essential.
  2. Academic Requirements:
    • Completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is mandatory.
    • Academic requirements specified by the participating school must be met. These requirements can vary, so it’s advisable to consult your school’s financial aid office for details.
  3. TEACH Programming Participation:
    • Students are expected to engage in TEACH programming, including meetings with a TEACH counselor.
  4. Teaching Service Obligation:
    • Before receiving TEACH Grant funds, students must sign an agreement committing to full-time teaching service for a minimum of four years.
    • This service obligation must be fulfilled within eight years of completing the program for which TEACH funds were received.
    • Teaching service must occur at a low-income school or educational service, in a high-need field, and at the elementary or secondary level. Eligible schools include both public and private institutions serving low-income students.

The Teaching Service Obligation

The cornerstone requirement for TEACH Grant recipients is the teaching service obligation. Before accessing TEACH Grant funds, students must commit to serving as full-time teachers for a minimum of four years. This service must be completed within eight years of program completion, and it must occur at a low-income school or educational service in a high-need field, serving elementary or secondary students.

TEACH Grant Worth

The TEACH Grant offers a substantial financial boost, providing recipients with up to $4,000 per year as they pursue their teaching careers.

Navigating TEACH Grant Obligations: What Happens If You Don’t Fulfill Them?

For recipients of the TEACH Grant, failing to fulfill the teaching service obligation comes with significant consequences. Here’s what happens if you fall short:

  1. Repayment Requirement:
    • Students who do not complete their teaching service obligation are required to repay all received grant funds.
    • The TEACH Grant funds are converted into direct unsubsidized loans, necessitating repayment with accrued interest.
  2. Financial Implications:
    • This scenario can lead to unexpected financial strain post-graduation, as the converted loans add to the student’s overall debt burden.

Avoiding Repayment: It’s crucial to avoid this situation if possible. Before applying for the TEACH Grant, ensure that you can commit to fulfilling the minimum four-year teaching service obligation after completing your education. Facing an unforeseen increase in student loan debt post-graduation can create substantial financial challenges.

TEACH Grant Eligibility for Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

Yes, the TEACH Grant is applicable to various types of studies aimed at preparing you for a teaching career in a low-income school setting. Whether pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or post-baccalaureate degree, as long as the program is offered by a participating school, TEACH Grant funds can be utilized to support your educational journey.


Understanding the implications and commitments associated with the TEACH Grant is crucial for aspiring educators. While the grant provides valuable financial assistance for pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or post-baccalaureate degrees, recipients must be prepared to fulfill their teaching service obligation. Failing to do so can result in the conversion of grant funds into loans, leading to repayment with accrued interest and potential financial strain. Therefore, before applying for the TEACH Grant, it’s essential to assess your ability to commit to the required teaching service period post-graduation. By carefully considering these factors, aspiring teachers can make informed decisions that support both their educational and professional goals.