For purposes of the TEACH Grant program, a teacher is a person who provides direct classroom teaching or classroom-type teaching in a non-classroom setting, including special education teachers and reading specialists.
You must perform your teaching service as a highly-qualified teacher. The term highly-qualified teacher is defined:
- In section 9101(23) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, or
- If you are a special education teacher, in section 602(10) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
For more information about the requirements for being a highly-qualified teacher, please see the Useful Resources section located at the end of this counseling session.
Schools and Educational Service Agencies Serving Low-Income Students
You must teach at an elementary or secondary school (public or private) or educational service agency (ESA) that serves low-income students (low-income school or ESA). These schools and ESAs are listed in the Department's Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits (Low-Income School Directory). Any elementary or secondary school operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), or operated on an Indian reservation by an Indian tribal group under contract or grant with the BIE, also qualifies as a low-income school, even if it is not listed in the Low-Income School Directory.
If the school or ESA where you teach qualifies as a low-income school/ESA for all or part of one of your required four years of teaching, but does not qualify as a low-income school/ESA during subsequent school years, your subsequent years of teaching will still count for purposes of satisfying your TEACH Grant service obligation.
An educational service agency is a regional public multiservice agency (not a private organization) that is authorized by state law to develop, manage, and provide services or programs to local education agencies, such as public school districts.
For more information on the Department's Low-Income School Directory, please see the Useful Resources section located at the end of this counseling session.
TEACH Grant High-Need Fields
More than half of the classes you teach during each school year must be in a high-need field. For purposes of the TEACH Grant program, high-need fields are:
- Foreign language;
- Bilingual education;
- English language acquisition;
- Special education;
- Reading specialist; or
- Any other field that has been identified as high-need by the federal government, a state government, or a local education agency, and that is included in the Department's annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing (Nationwide Listing). If you are planning to teach in a high-need field that is included in the Nationwide Listing, that field must be listed for the state where you teach either:
- At the time you begin your qualifying teaching service in that field (even if the field later loses its high-need designation for the state where you are teaching); or
- At the time you received a TEACH Grant (even if the field is no longer designated as high-need for the state where you are teaching at the time you begin your qualifying teaching service in that field).
For more information about the Nationwide Listing, please see the Useful Resources section located at the end of this counseling session.