The federal government in its effort to extend financial aid to various sectors of the society offer the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program for aspiring teachers, or TEACH for short.
Under this unique program, single mothers who aspire to be a teacher may be eligible for a grant of up to $4,000 each year to complete their program of study.
In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, however, the applicants must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.1 or in a designated high-need field such as Mathematics, Science, Bilingual Education or Special Education.
As a recipient of a TEACH Grant, you’re also obligated to teach full-time upon graduation for a period of at least four years in designated schools and this condition must be fulfilled within eight years of completing the program, for which the TEACH Grant was provided.
Other eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Be a registered undergraduate, graduate or post-baccalaureate student at an institution that is part of the TEACH Grant program
- Be enrolled in coursework necessary to begin a career in teaching and meet certain academic achievement requirements
- Maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25, or be able to score above the 75th percentile on certain college admissions tests.
- Complete TEACH Grant counseling each year funds are received.
- Must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS) as a condition for receiving a TEACH Grant. 2
How to Apply
If you are interested in applying for the TEACH Grant program, you should contact the financial aid office at the college where you will be enrolled to find out if they are participants of the TEACH Grant Program.3
If your school does participate in the program, you must apply by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA just like you do for all other types of federal aid.
The important thing to keep in mind that in case of non-compliance with the “Agreement to Serve” upon graduation, the grant in its entirety will be permanently converted to a Direct Stafford Loan.
What it means is that if you do not fulfill the 4-year teaching obligation, what was once a free grant will be converted into an unsubsidized 6.8% loan – which by law can’t be converted back to a grant!
And this loan would then have to be repaid along with the interest, which would be calculated from the date of the disbursement of the grant, usually within six months.
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant is indeed a great opportunity for single mothers to gain additional free money for college. However, accepting a TEACH Grant should not be done without thought and planning.
- Schools serving low-income students include any elementary or secondary school that is listed in the Department of Educations Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits. [↩]
- a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve is available electronically on the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve official website. [↩]
- For a listing of the TEACH Grant eligible institutions, click here. [↩]