July 1, 2021
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) today announced changes to the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that will support teachers and encourage students to enter the teaching profession.
According to the announcement, the TEACH Grant Program rules now "provide greater flexibility and processes remove pain points grant recipients previously experienced navigating the program."
In the announcement, the Department outlined the regulatory changes taking effect today:
- TEACH Grant Exit Counseling is required, and the counseling will inform recipients that the TEACH Grant servicer, FedLoan Servicing, will now send detailed annual notifications to recipients that include service obligation requirements and timelines, documentation reminders, accrued interest estimates, and explanations about the reconversion process.
- TEACH Grant recipients will no longer have their grants converted to loans if they do not certify that they have begun teaching or intend to begin teaching within 120 days of graduating or withdrawing from school, and there is no requirement for recipients to certify their intent to teach within 120 days of graduating or separating from school.
- If TEACH Grant recipients do not certify at the end of each year of teaching completed, their grants are not converted to loans until they do not have enough time to complete the required four years of service within the eight-year deadline.
- ED expanded the reasons that a TEACH Grant recipient's service obligation may be suspended for a period of time and a TEACH Grant recipient may teach for less than a full academic year, but still receive credit for the full academic year.
- ED simplified program requirements to allow TEACH Grant recipients to group together undergraduate and graduate service obligations, when possible.
- The reconsideration process is now open to all TEACH Grant recipients whose grants have converted to loans.
- The program changes provide additional relief for recipients whose TEACH Grants were converted to loans in error.
In addition to the TEACH Grant Program changes, ED's office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) launched new and improved digital forms and resources to help guide and inform TEACH Grant recipients.
The Department said the Biden-Harris Administration introduced TEACH Grant Program enhancements as part of the American Families Plan that build on the improvements implemented today, while continuing to address teacher shortages in high-need fields, such as special education, career and technical education, science, technology, engineering, and math. According to the announcement, "the proposed plan also aims to increase the access that students from low-income backgrounds and students of color have to comprehensive teacher preparation."
For more information regarding new TEACH Grant resources, see the related article.