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President Signs TEACH Grants Into Law

The President signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (HR 2669 ENR), after an earlier veto threat to the House bill. Included in the bill are The TEACH Grants, representing $375 million of mandatory federal spending to prepare new teachers in colleges and universities. Because this is mandatory spending, funds will be available every year without going through the annual appropriations process. This is truly a landmark investment in teacher quality.

KEY FEATURES OF THE TEACH GRANTS:

  • A $4000 per year scholarship (for a total of $16,000) is available to undergraduates who want to go into the teaching profession.  
  • Those seeking a Master's degree's in teaching are eligible for scholarships of up to $8000.  
  • Eligible students must have a 3.25 grade point average or receive a score above the 75th percentile on an admissions test.  
  • TEACH Grant recipients must teach in high need schools and high need fields for a minimum of four years within the eight years after finishing the program.  
  • The following shortage fields are targeted for TEACH grants: mathematics, science, a foreign language, special education, bilingual education, reading specialists, other documented high-need fields.

TEACH Grants should become available in July 2008. It is expected that the Department of Education will issue regulations for implementation. 

The lead advocate for the TEACH grants has been Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor. Included in a bill he introduced during the last Congress (The TEACH Act), Chairman Miller has been a tireless leader for this program. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) has also been a strong advocate of the TEACH grants, working with Mr. Miller to be sure that they were included in the final version of the legislation. Much thanks goes to these two congressional leaders.

FUNDING TO STRENGTHEN MINORITY SERVING INSTIUTIONS :

  • Another important new program included in the legislation is intended to strengthen minority serving institutions.  
  • $510 million is provided to enhance the academic programs and access to programs at institutions that serve historically underrepresented populations.  
  • Funds can be used to increase the number of low income and/or minority students earning degrees in the STEM fields, to purchase laboratory equipment and to strengthen teacher preparation programs.

The statutory language authorizing the TEACH grants can be found here.