Western Michigan University students may wish to participate in the U.S. Department of Education's TEACH Grant program. Please note that due to the federal sequester, the TEACH maximum at this time has been reduced from $4,000 to $3,728 for first disbursements made beginning Oct. 1, 2015 to Oct. 1, 2016 and $3,724 beginning Oct. 1, 2016 to Oct. 1, 2017.
We strongly encourage you to consider that this grant has a high potential of turning into a loan. It is estimated that 80 percent of students who participate in the TEACH grant program will be unable to use the funds as grants. These students will see their funds converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan with accumulated interest. If you are not already committed to teaching full-time in a high-need subject in a school serving low-income students, you should not consider this as a possible source of aid. A student who receives a TEACH grant and fails to fulfill the terms of the Agreement to Serve will incur substantial indebtedness.
The TEACH grant program will provide up to $4,000 per academic year ($16,000 total for undergraduate programs; $8,000 total for graduate studies) in grants to students enrolled full-time who are enrolled in TEACH-eligible programs with the intent to teach full-time in high-need subject areas at schools that serve students from low-income families.
Students enrolled less than full-time will receive a prorated amount per term. Total financial aid may not exceed the cost of attendance, so receiving a TEACH grant may reduce your eligibility for other types of financial aid.
- In exchange for receiving a TEACH grant, you must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students.
- As a recipient of a TEACH grant, you must teach for at least four academic years within eight calendar years of completing the program of study for which you received a TEACH grant.
- If you fail to complete this service obligation, all funds you received from the TEACH grants will be converted to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan. You must then repay this loan to the U.S. Department of Education.
- You will be charged interest from the date your grants were disbursed.
High-need fields can be found at the Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing. The high-need field must be designated as such for the state in which you are teaching at the time you begin teaching. This means the TEACH-eligible program you choose now might no longer be eligible by the time you begin your teaching obligation.
Current high-need fields are:
- Bilingual education and English language acquisition.
- Foreign language.
- Reading specialist.
- Special education.
- Other fields as designated by the federal government, state government or a local educational agency.
See the U.S. Department of Education’s Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits for current information. Low-income designation is made at the individual school level, not the school district level.
Eligibility and maintenance criteria
- WMU TEACH-eligible programs.
- You must confirm within 120 days of completing or otherwise ceasing enrollment in your teacher preparation program that you are fulfilling, or plan to fulfill, the terms and conditions of your service agreement.
- You have eight years from the time you complete your program of study to complete four years of qualified teaching. If you believe you will not be able to fulfill your obligation on time, consider requesting a suspension.
- Once you are teaching in a qualified school in a qualified program, your school administrator must notify the U.S. Department of Education each year that you are meeting your teaching obligation.
- You may cancel your TEACH grant while you are a student by returning the funds disbursed to your account within 14 days after the grant has been disbursed by contacting Student Financial Aid.
- You may request your TEACH grants be converted to a loan if you determine you cannot meet the service obligation by contacting the U.S. Department of Education. This loan will be serviced by FedLoan Servicing. Contact PHEAA by phone at 1 (800) 699-2908 or online, www.myfedloan.org.
TEACH grant application
U.S. Citizens or eligible non-citizens admitted to TEACH-eligible programs may apply for a TEACH grant by completing a FAFSA and submitting the appropriate year's TEACH undergraduate or graduate application. Print the application and return it to Student Financial Aid or Bronco Express. Student Financial Aid will determine your eligibility and approve your award. Please allow two weeks for processing. Once awarded, you will receive a revised award notice via your WMU email. After you have been awarded the TEACH, you must also complete TEACH entrance counseling. You must also complete the Agreement to Serve.
TEACH entrance counseling
You must complete TEACH grant entrance counseling after you have been awarded to certify you understand your teaching obligation and to apply for the program. If you complete the entrance counseling requirement before you have been awarded the TEACH, WMU will not receive your information. Next, you must complete the Agreement to Serve.
Agreement to Serve
Every year after you have been approved for a TEACH grant, you must complete the U.S. Department of Education's online Agreement to Serve using your FSA ID. You cannot complete the ATS until you have been awarded a TEACH grant by WMU. When you sign the service agreement, you are promising to meet the requirements of the TEACH grant. If you do not meet those requirements, your TEACH grant will covert to a Direct Unsubsidized loan with accrued interest from the date the grant funds were first disbursed. If the grant is converted to a loan, it cannot be converted back to a grant.
Other Eligibility Criteria:
- You must provide proof from ACT, SAT, GRE or GMAT that you scored above the 75th percentile in at least one of the subject areas, or
- Maintain a 3.25 GPA prior to each payment period or
- If a graduate student, document you are a current or former teacher or retiree with expertise in a high need field.
TEACH exit counseling
You must complete TEACH grant exit counseling before you leave school. Exit counseling is required when you:
- Are no longer enrolled in a TEACH-eligible program (you change your major).
- Are no longer enrolled at least half-time.
If you have additional questions about the TEACH grant program, please call (269) 387-6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The U.S. Department of Education also provides details about the Federal TEACH grant program.