Posted December 14, 2009
Idaho State University has taken advantage of the federal TEACH Grant program to offer scores of grants to education majors, who then are required to teach in a high-need field in a school serving low-income students for four of the first eight years after they graduate.
So far for the 2009-10 academic year ISU has awarded $348,955 to 101 undergraduate students and $60,000 to 21 graduate students. There is a catch, however: for those candidates who do not graduate or who do not meet the requirements noted above, the TEACH Grant becomes an unsubsidized loan, which must be paid back and that begins accruing interest at the time of its disbursement.
This latter fact, coupled with the administration efforts required to implement the program, have discouraged some universities from embracing the program. Idaho State University was the only public university in Idaho to participate in the program in its initial year. At ISU, the program is only offered to students who have been accepted into the University's teacher education program.
"The TEACH Grant provides an opportunity for students who may not have had the financial means to attend ISU," said Deborah Hedeen, dean of the ISU College of Education. "Our students have the grade-point averages, the background checks and have completed PRAXIS exams to meet the ISU teacher education program requirements. Our program requires such rigor for our candidates to enter, that we feel very confident they will graduate."
The TEACH Grant program has its own set of requirements, including that an applicant must have a 3.25 or higher grade point average or have scored in the 75th percentile on standardized tests such as ACT or SAT exams. The TEACH program offers up to $4,000 per year to undergraduate or graduate education students, and up to a total of $16,000 for an undergraduate education.
"It has been some work to get the TEACH program set up, but it now has a lot of student participation," said James Martin, assistant director of financial aid at ISU. "Students can now also apply and complete financial counseling sessions online, which has increased participation."
For more information on the TEACH Grant program at ISU, contact Martin at (208) 282-2756, or visit www.isu.edu/finaid/teac_link.html.