The following was included in TCTA's 2017-18 Survival Guide, the ultimate reference tool for Texas educators, and is current as of September 2016 but is subject to change.

Several programs provide tuition aid, exemptions and grants, and housing assistance for educators. Information and links to the following programs are available at tcta.org/teacher_resources/financial_assistance.

Tuition/fee grants and exemptions

Federal

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). 

Federal budget cuts have led to reductions in TEACH disbursement. Click here for details.

State

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

  1. submit a completed application to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board during the annual application period;
  2. are currently teaching full-time at the preschool, primary or secondary level in a Texas public school; and
  3. are certified and teach full-time in a field OR at a campus identified by TEA as experiencing a shortage of teachers during the academic year for which the application is submitted. 

First priority will be given to qualifying applicants who received loan repayment assistance for the previous academic year and have remaining program eligibility. All other applications will be ranked according to the following criteria, in order of priority:

  1. Applicants teaching shortage subjects on campuses identified as having the most acute shortages of teachers (Note: Title I designation is not a criterion for determining shortage campuses)
  2. Applicants teaching other subjects on campuses identified as having the most acute shortages of teachers

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: In 2017, the legislature reduced funding for this program. No new applications will be accepted between Sept. 1, 2017, and Aug. 31, 2019.

The Education Aide Exemption (EAE) program, which 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 these tuition assistance programs and is available to answer questions at 800-242-3062 or 512-427-6340.

Applications are available for the Math and Science Scholars Loan Repayment Program. Through the 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

A significant student loan repayment option, the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) 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, government, nonprofit or other public service employees may be eligible for loan forgiveness after just 10 years. Another program available to teachers is a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which 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 for this loan forgiveness program. However, only payments made on the new Direct Consolidation Loan count toward the required 120 qualifying payments for PSLF.) It covers federal Stafford, Grad PLUS, or consolidation loans as long as they are in the Direct Loan program. Borrowers with FFEL loans must switch to the Direct Loan program to get this benefit.

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

No-interest student loans

The Texas B-On-Time Student Loan Program provides no-interest loans to eligible students with the possibility of loan forgiveness when the student completes his/her degree on time and graduates with at least a 2.5 on a four-point scale average. NOTE: Only renewal loans are available.

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.

See more information on financial assistance for educators