To avoid repaying the TEACH Grant as a loan with interest, 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 (undergraduate and graduate) for which you received TEACH Grant funds, although you may work off multiple four-year obligations simultaneously under certain circumstances.
Highly-Qualified, Full-Time Teacher
You must perform your teaching service as a highly-qualified teacher, which is defined in federal law. Search the alphabetical listing for the most up-to-date definition.
You must also meet your state of employment’s definition of a full-time teacher and spend the majority (at least 51%) of your time teaching one of the high-need subject areas. Elementary teachers who teach multiple subjects may not be able to fulfill this provision of their service agreement.
Subject areas classified as high-need are listed below.
- 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.
Note that your subject area, in order to qualify as high-need and meet your service obligation, must be on the above listing or on the annual list at the time you sign your TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve.
A final provision is that the school of your employment serves low-income students. You would need to teach at 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 recipients must respond promptly to any and all 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. It is extremely important that you maintain a permanent email and mailing address and ensure any mail received is sent to you promptly.
Per the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve, 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.