Admissions & Aid

TEACH Grants

Secondary education majors may be eligible for the Federal TEACH Grant.  Please see the criteria below to find out if you qualify for this opportunity.

 

What is the TEACH Grant Program?

The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete course work needed to begin a career in teaching.  As a condition for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve in which you agree to (among other requirements) teach in a high-need field at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families for at least four complete academic years within eight years after completing (or ceasing enrollment in) the course of study for which you received the grant.

 

What majors are eligible for a TEACH Grant? 

You must be enrolled in one of the following majors at Alma College to be eligible for the TEACH Grant:

  • Biology, Secondary Teaching Major
  • Chemistry, Secondary Teaching Major
  • Math, Secondary Teaching Major
  • Physics, Secondary Teaching Major

 

If you plan to teach in a high-need field that is included in the Nationwide List, that field must be listed for the state where you teach either at the time you begin your qualifying teaching service or at the time you received a TEACH Grant.

 

Students pursuing a second Bachelor degree or certification are not eligible.

To receive a TEACH Grant you must:

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), although you do not have to demonstrate financial need.
  • Meet the eligibility requirements for federal student aid.
  • Be enrolled in a program of study designated by Alma College as TEACH Grant-eligible. Eligible programs are those that prepare a student to teach in a high-need area and are listed above.
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 (on a 4.0 scale) on your college coursework to receive a grant for each subsequent term
  • Complete TEACH Grant Entrance Counseling.
  • Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS) and respond to requests by the U.S. Department of Education confirming your continuing intention to meet the teaching obligation. The ATS is online at https://teach-ats.ed.gov.
  • When you leave school, or if you change programs you are required to complete TEACH exit counseling at https://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/SaTecNavigate1.do.

How do I renew the TEACH Grant?
Each year you receive a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and Promise to Pay (service agreement) that will be available electronically on a Department of Education Web site. The TEACH Grant service agreement specifies the conditions under which the grant will be awarded, the teaching service requirements, and includes an acknowledgment by you that you understand that if you do not meet the teaching service requirements you must repay the grant as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, with interest accrued from the date the grant funds were first disbursed.

 

What is my teaching obligation after graduation?

In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must agree to the following:

  • You must serve as a full-time teacher for a total of at least four academic years within eight years after you complete or otherwise cease to be enrolled in the program(s) for which you received TEACH Grant funds.
  • You must perform the teaching service as a highly qualified teacher at a low-income school or educational service agency.
  • Your teaching service must be in a high-need field.
  • You must provide the U.S. Department of Education with documentation of your progress toward completing your service obligation.
  • If you do not meet the requirements of your service obligation, all TEACH Grant funds you received will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. You must repay this loan in full, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.

Specific definitions of these terms are below:
Highly-Qualified Teacher: You must perform the teaching service as a highly-qualified teacher, which is defined in federal law. The definition can be found online.

Full-Time Teacher: 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.

High-Need Subject Areas Offered at Alma College:

  • Biology, Secondary Teaching Major
  • Chemistry, Secondary Teaching Major
  • Math, Secondary Teaching Major
  • Physics, Secondary Teaching Major

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.

 

What are the documentation requirements?
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

 

Can a TEACH Grant service obligation every be suspended or canceled?

You may request a temporary suspension of the eight-year period for completing your TEACH Grant service obligation based on the following situations:

  • Your enrollment in a TEACH-Grant-eligible program or your 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. For example, if you received a TEACH Grant for an undergraduate program and you later enroll in a graduate program for which you would be eligible to receive a TEACH Grant, you could receive a suspension of the eight-year period for completing your service obligation for the undergraduate program while you are enrolled in the graduate program.
  • A condition that is a qualifying reason for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • A call or order to active duty status for more than 30 days as a member of the armed forces reserves, or service as a member of the National Guard on full-time National Guard duty under a call to active service in connection with a war, military operation, or national emergency.

Suspensions are granted in one-year increments, not to exceed a combined total of three years for the first two conditions listed above, or a total of three years for the third condition. If you receive a suspension, the eight-year period for completing your service obligation is put “on hold” during the suspension period. For example, if you receive a one-year suspension after two years of the eight-year period for completing your service obligation have elapsed, you would have six years left to complete your service obligation when the one-year suspension period ends.

Your TEACH Grant service obligation may be canceled (discharged) if you die or if you become totally and permanently disabled.

You may also receive a discharge of some or all of your four-year teaching requirement if you are called or ordered to qualifying military active duty for a period that exceeds three years.

 

IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you receive a TEACH Grant but do not complete the required teaching service, as explained above, you will be required to repay the grants as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.