Tuition aid and housing assistance | TCTA
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Tuition aid and housing assistance

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Several programs provide tuition aid, exemptions and grants, and housing assistance for educators.

Tuition/fee grants and exemptions

Federal program

The federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program is a non-need-based program providing up to $4,000 per year to undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and graduate students who agree to teach for four years in a high-need field in a low-income school (within eight years of completing the program for which the TEACH Grant was awarded). Also eligible are current teachers or retirees with expertise in a high-need field pursuing a master’s degree, and current or former teachers pursuing certification through a high-quality alternative certification route (Note: additional requirements apply). Find more details here. Federal budget cuts have led to reductions in TEACH disbursement.

State programs

The Teach for Texas Loan Repayment Program provides up to $2,500 annually in loan repayment assistance for eligible teachers who:

  • submit an annual application to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board;
  • are currently teaching full time at the preschool, primary or secondary level in a Texas public school; and
  • are certified and teach full time in a field OR at a campus identified by TEA as experiencing a teacher shortage in the academic year for which the application is submitted.

The aggregate maximum for loan repayment amounts is $20,000. Participation in the program is limited to five years. Annual loan repayments are disbursed after verification of eligible teaching for a complete academic year, and are made co-payable to the participant and the holder of the loan. Note: Funding for 2020-21 will be sufficient for renewal awards only.

The Education Aide Exemption program allows any current school employee who has worked as an educational aide for at least one of the last five years to qualify for college tuition and fee exemptions while seeking teacher certification.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board oversees state tuition assistance programs. Call 800-242-3062.

Applications are available for the Math and Science Scholars Loan Repayment Program. Those who demonstrate high academic achievement as math or science majors are encouraged to teach math or science in Texas public schools for at least eight years, with the first four years at Title I schools. Selected applicants may qualify for up to $5,000 in student loan repayment assistance for each completed academic year.

Loan deferment/forgiveness

The Income-Based Repayment program caps monthly federal loan payments at an affordable level based on income and family size, and forgives any debt and interest that remains after 20 years for borrowers after July 1, 2014, or 25 years for borrowers before July 1, 2014. In some cases, borrowers may be eligible for loan forgiveness after 10 years.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program discharges any remaining debt after at least 10 years of full-time employment in public service, including jobs in public education. The borrower must have made 120 payments on or after Oct. 1, 2007, as part of the Federal Direct Loan program to obtain this benefit. (Since July 1, 2008, borrowers could consolidate into a Direct Loan to qualify. However, only payments made on the new Direct Consolidation Loan count toward the required 120 payments.) It covers federal Stafford, PLUS, or consolidation loans in the Direct Loan program. Borrowers with FFEL loans must switch to the Direct Loan program.

Teachers who received federal student loans and now serve in a designated low-income school or in a subject-matter shortage area may be able to cancel or defer certain student loans. Some Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program benefits increased from $5,000 to $17,500 for teachers meeting the requirements.

More information

The TEA website lists the requirements of the federal, state and public service loan forgiveness programs available to teachers as well as the current teacher shortage areas.

Housing assistance

Educators are eligible for several programs benefiting homebuyers operated by the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation. The Homes for Texas Heroes and Home Sweet Texas Home Loan programs provide low-interest 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans to eligible homebuyers. Additionally, the Mortgage Credit Certificate program reduces tax liability. To qualify, homebuyers must meet program requirements, including income and home purchase price limits.

State-certified K-12 teachers may be eligible for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Good Neighbor Next Door program.