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 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). The TEACH Grant rules now provide greater flexibility. There is a reconsideration process now open to all TEACH Grant recipients whose grants have converted to loans. Find more details here.

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 and are:

  • certified in a shortage teaching field, currently teaching full time in that field at the time of application, and have taught in that field full time for at least one year at the preschool, primary, or secondary level in a Texas public school; or
  • a certified educator currently teaching in a shortage community full time at the time of application at the preschool, primary, or secondary level and have taught in that community full time for at least one year.

The 2022-23 teacher shortage areas for Texas are:

  • Bilingual/English as a Second Language (grades PK-12)
  • Career and Technical Education (grades 7-12)
  • Technology Applications and Computer Science (grades PK-12)
  • Mathematics (grades 7-12)
  • Special Education (grades PK-12)

The aggregate maximum for loan repayment amounts is $20,000. Participation in the program is limited to five years.

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 four consecutive years at Texas public schools that receive federal Title I funding. The maximum award amount for the current academic year has been increased to $10,000.

Loan deferment/forgiveness

The current Income-Based Repayment program caps monthly federal loan payments at 10% or 15% of a recipient’s discretionary income. After making consistent payments for 20 or 25 years (terms depend on when you borrowed), any remaining loan balance will be forgiven. Loans that are forgiven under this program will not be taxed as income through 2025. The Biden Administration has proposed a rule to create a new income-driven repayment plan that will substantially reduce future monthly payments for lower- and middle-income borrowers. More information will be available in the coming months, and TCTA will share that information through eUpdate.

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. It covers federal Stafford, PLUS, or consolidation loans in the Direct Loan program. (Since July 1, 2008, borrowers could consolidate into a Direct Loan to qualify. Only payments made on the new Direct Consolidation Loan counted toward the required 120 payments.)

Under temporary rules, borrowers may submit a new waiver form by Oct. 31, 2022, that allows all payments to count toward PSLF, regardless of loan program or payment plan. It will also waive restrictions on the type of repayment plan and the requirement that payments be made in the full amount and on-time for all borrowers. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education will review denied PSLF applications for errors and give borrowers the ability to have determinations reconsidered. Click here for details.

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 up to $17,500 under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.

As of fall 2022, the federal student loan payment pause was extended to Dec. 31, 2022. The pause includes the following relief measures for eligible loans:

  • a suspension of loan payments
  • a 0% interest rate
  • stopped collections on defaulted loans

Click here for additional information.

The newly announced student loan debt plan from the Biden Administration includes loan forgiveness of up to $20,000 for eligible Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for other eligible borrowers. Applications are due no later than Dec. 31, 2023.

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.