Figuring out how to pay for post-secondary education is sometimes the most challenging obstacle to overcome and for that reason it is important to talk to an Enrollment Counselor. They are qualified individuals who have years of experience in the education industry and will come up with a customized degree program that best fits your needs. They will evaluate your experience and background information to consider what financial programs for which you may qualify.
ScholarshipsWhat is the difference between a scholarship, grant and a loan?
A scholarship is awarded based on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder and does not have to be repaid. Many times scholarships are based upon merit or academic performance and will vary depending upon the criteria set forth by your specific school of attendance.
A grant is also awarded based on various criteria and does not have to be repaid. Qualification is based on area of study and financial status. Specific Federal grants will be discussed below.
A loan is dispersed to students who require additional financial assistance other than scholarships and grants, and does have to be repaid. However, keep in mind that loans may be forgiven if criteria are met as outlined below.
What is a Pell Grant & how do I obtain a Pell Grant?
A Federal Pell Grant is awarded to undergraduate students who have not completed a bachelor's or similar professional degree.
The first step towards obtaining a grant is to fill out a FAFSA and meet the minimum qualifications as prescribed by the grant. Grant amounts are dependent on four things: First, the student's expected family contribution (EFC); second, the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution); third, the student's enrollment status (full time or part time); and fourth, whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.
What is the TEACH Grant Program?
Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program that provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. If you are interested in learning more about the TEACH Grant Program, you should contact the financial aid office at the college where you will be enrolled.
In 2007 Congress passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which specifically created the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program. Through this government-issued grant, aspiring teachers are provided up to $4,000 per year for school-related expenses. 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 school which serves students from low-income families.
*Note: High-need fields are as follows: Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Reading Specialist, Science, Special Education and other identified teacher shortage areas as of the time you begin teaching in that field.
What are the eligibility requirements for a TEACH Grant?
To receive a TEACH Grant you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), although you do not have to demonstrate financial need.
- Be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student in a postsecondary educational institution that has chosen to participate in the TEACH Grant Program.
- Be enrolled in (or plan to complete) coursework specific to the subject within which you would like to teach. (e.g., reading specialist courses for a student who intends to be a reading teacher).
- Meet certain academic achievement requirements (generally, maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 and/or scoring above the 75th percentile on a college admissions test).
- Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (see the section listed below for more information on the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve).
What is the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve?
Each year you receive a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve that will be available electronically on a Department of Education website. The TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve specifies the conditions under which the grant will be awarded, the teaching service requirements, and includes an acknowledgment that you understand 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 disbursed.
Loans and Loan Forgiveness
How do I apply for a Federal Stafford Loan?
A FFEL (Federal Family Education Loan) Stafford Loan is not based on your income or credit. Instead, approval is based upon completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. In addition to the FAFSA you will need your tax forms from the year previous and your driver's license. Once your FAFSA is processed your school will review the results and inform you about your loan eligibility. Lastly, once admitted to a post-graduate institution you will typically be assigned a financial advisor who can help further explain any financial aid questions you may have.
How do I qualify for $5,000 or $17,500 in Title I Loan Forgiveness?
If you have already or plan on teaching full-time for five consecutive complete academic years in an elementary or secondary school which services low-income families you may be eligible for $5,000 in loan forgiveness. In addition, if you are employed as a highly qualified math, science, or special education teacher in a Title I School district you are eligible for $17,500 in loan forgiveness.