What’s a TEACH Grant?

A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant can aid you with your higher education costs if you commit to working as a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area.

When accepting a TEACH Grant, you agree to fulfill its work requirements by doing this type of work for a certain length of time. Failure to uphold your end of the bargain can result in you having to repay the grant as if it was a student loan and not a grant.

It is also important to know that as a recipient of a TEACH Grant, you will be required to take certain kinds of classes.

How much money can I get?

A TEACH Grant can give an individual student a maximum of $4,000 a year.

Important: The Budget Control Act of 2011 requires a reduction of 6.6% to be made from any TEACH Grant that is first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2017, and before Oct. 1, 2018. Example: Student A is eligible for a $4,000 TEACH Grant but will only receive $3,736 since 6.6% of $4,000 is $264.

Work requirement (service obligation)

  • The work requirement is for 4 complete academic years of full-time teaching.student
  • The work requirement must be fulfilled within 8 years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which the student was awarded the grant.
  • The teaching must be in a high-need field.
  • The service must be performed as a highly qualified teacher.
  • The teaching must be done at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families.

If you receive TEACH Grants for more than one TEACH-Grant-eligible program, you will have to agree to do a separate four-year service obligation for each program. There are certain exceptions tough; in some cases the same period of teaching service will satisfy some or all of each service obligation. For more information, check with your school’s student aid office.

What happens if I don’t complete the work requirement within 8 years?

The TEACH Grant will be converted into a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and you will be obliged to repay this loan to the U.S. Department of Education. Interest will be charged from the day that the TEACH Grant was dispersed (paid out).


Please note that under certain circumstances, you can be granted a temporary suspension of the eight-year period. You must request this suspension; it will not be given automatically. Examples of situations that may qualify for suspension (conditions apply):

  • Enrollment in a TEACH Grant-eligible program
  • Enrollment in a program that a state requires you to complete in order to receive a certification or license to teach in that state’s elementary or secondary schools.
  • A condition that is a qualifying reason for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • A call or order to active duty status in the armed forces or National Guard.

Suspension is granted in one-year increments. You can not receive more than three years suspension in total.


Your work requirement may be canceled (discharged) if you:

  • Become totally and permanently disabled
  • Are called or ordered to qualifying military active duty for more than 3 years
  • Die (in this situation, cancellation of your work requirement means that the grant wont be converted into a loan that your estate must repay)

How do I apply for a TEACH Grant?

  1. student cartoonCheck if you meet the basic eligibility criteria for federal student aid programs. If you don’t, there is no point in applying for the TEACH Grant since your application will be denied.
  2. Check that your school participates in the TEACH Grant Program.
  3. Check that the program you intend to be enrolled in is a TEACH Grant eligible program.
  4. Check that you fulfill the academic achievement requirements. For more information about these requirements, contact your school’s financial aid office. In most cases, you need to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 or score above the 75th percentile on one or more portions of a college admissions test.
  5. Fill out and send in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. You can do this online or offline.

TEACH Grant Counseling

When you have been awarded a TEACH Grant, you must complete a TEACH Grant counseling session. It will typically take 20 minutes or so.

You must complete a new TEACH Grant counseling session for each year that you receive the TEACH Grant.

The TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve

Before you get any money from your TEACH Grant, you must sign the Teach Grant Agreement to Serve. You must sign a new agreement for each year that you receive the grant.

What does high-need field mean?

On of the conditions for fulfilling your work requirement is that you must teach in a high-need field. But what does that mean?

In this context, the following fields are considered high-need:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Foreign language
  • Reading specialist
  • Bilingual education and English language acquisition
  • Any other field that has been identified as high-need by the federal government, a state government or a local education agency, provided that it was also included in the annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing for the state in which you teach either at the time you began your qualifying teaching service or at the time you received the TEACH Grant.

How do I know if a school or agency serves low-income students?

  • Schools and educational service agencies listed in the annual Teacher Cancellation Low-Income Directory qualify as low-income schools. You can find this directory at ifap.ed.gov.
  • Elementary and secondary schools operated by the U.S. 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. For more information, visit bia.gov.