The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides grants up to $4,000 to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. Teaching Obligation
In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must be a highly-qualified, full-time teacher in a high-need subject area for at least four years at a school serving low-income students. You must complete the four years of teaching within eight years of finishing the program for which you received the grant. You incur a four-year teaching obligation for each educational program for which you received TEACH Grant funds, although you may work off multiple four-year obligations simultaneously under certain circumstances. Specific definitions of these terms are included below.
Simmons College Programs That May Qualify
- Modern Language
- General Education
- Special Education
- English Language Acquisition
- Reading Specialist
You must perform the teaching service as a highly-qualified teacher, which is defined in federal law. Read the informational sheet at the Department of Education's website.
You must meet the state's definition of a full-time teacher and spend the majority (at least 51 percent) of your time teaching one of the high-need subject areas. Elementary school teachers who teach many subjects would not be able to fulfill their service agreement.
High-Need Subject Areas
- Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition
- Foreign Language
- Reading Specialist
- Special Education
Other teacher shortage areas are listed in the Department of Education's Annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing.
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.
TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS)
Each year you receive a TEACH Grant you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS). The Agreement is a legally binding document that defines the teaching obligations you must meet and specifies your repayment obligation if a TEACH Grant that you receive is converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. When you sign the service agreement, you are agreeing to repay the grant as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, with interest accrued from the date that the grant funds were disbursed, if you do not complete the teaching obligation. Once the grant has been converted to a loan, it cannot be converted back to a grant.
You must respond promptly to any requests for information or documentation from the U.S. Department of Education, even if they seem repetitive. These requests will be sent to you while you are still in school as well as once you are out of school. You will be asked regularly to confirm that you either still intend to teach or that you are teaching as required. You must provide documentation to the U.S. Department of Education at the end of each year of teaching.
If you temporarily cease enrollment in your program of study or if you encounter situations that affect your ability to begin or continue teaching, you will need to stay in touch with the U.S. Department of Education to avoid your grants being converted to loans before you are able to complete your teaching obligation.
At Simmons College, you must:
- Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student
- Be enrolled in coursework that is necessary to begin a career in teaching or plan to complete such coursework. Such coursework may include subject area courses (e.g., math courses for a student who intends to be a math teacher)
- Maintain 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 throughout the academic year)
- Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS)
- Complete initial/subsequent TEACH Grant Counseling through the ATS website
Students that qualify for the TEACH Grant will be reviewed based on the information reported on the FAFSA. Students will be notified by the Office of Student Financial Services if they are eligible to receive the TEACH Grant. Once students have been offered the TEACH Grant, they may accept and/or decline the award with Student Financial Services. Accepting the award will also require students to fulfill the teaching obligation and complete the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS).
Failure to complete the teaching obligation, respond to requests for information, or properly document your teaching service will cause the TEACH Grant to be permanently converted to a loan with interest.
Once a grant is converted to a loan it can't be converted back to a grant!
For further information, please see Department of Education TEACH Grant page or contact us at Student Financial Services.