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Finances in Houston

30 minutes
30 minutes

Finances in Houston

This guide explains options for financial aid, scholarships, loan forgiveness and more.

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If you have any questions about financing your education, reach out to a TEACH for Houston coach or admissions staff for support. We’re here for you.

 

When you apply to an educator preparation program (EPP), make sure to take finances into account. You have options when it comes to funding your education.

Here’s to financial prowess!

Financial Aid & Scholarships

There are four types of financial aid that you should look out for: grants and scholarships, student loans, loan forgiveness and work-study.

  • Grants and scholarships do not need to be paid back, and are generally awarded based on need or merit. 
  • Student loans need to be paid back (subsidized ones will not accrue interest while you are enrolled in school, but unsubsidized ones will).
  • Loan forgiveness is an option for teachers who serve in particular types of schools for a set period of time. Check with your educator preparation program to learn how to qualify for this substantial perk.
  • Work-study allows students with financial need to earn money towards educational expenses by working part-time (usually on campus). 

If you qualify for work-study, try to align your job or service with your area of study. That way you can get hands-on experience while paying for your education.

Program or University

Check to see if your program offers financial aid. If it does (most do), be prepared to provide your name, Social Security Number, email and other general background information.

Some forms will include a Release of Information, which authorizes specified individuals, agencies and organizations access to your form details. It’s a good idea to consent to this section to be considered for some financial aid programs.

Federal Government

To support new teachers, Uncle Sam provides options for paying for your education.

FAFSA

If you attended an undergraduate institution, you’ll remember the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Income, family size, parent age and more are taken into consideration when awarding federal grants to graduate students.

Deadline: One year prior to enrolling, you can submit your FAFSA application any time after October 1st. The priority deadline for Texas is March 15th. Remember that some forms of aid are first-come-first-serve, so apply as soon as you can!

See the FAFSA website for more details. Our friends at withFrank.org also make it easy to understand and apply for your FAFSA.

TEACH Grant

Offered by the Federal Student Aid office (the same one that runs FAFSA), the TEACH Grant offers up to $4,000 a year to students targeting the teaching profession.

Requirements:

  • Select an EPP that participates in the TEACH Grant Program.
  • Teach in a high-need field for low-income families.
  • Teach at an elementary school, secondary school or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families.
  • Teach for at least four complete academic years within eight years after receiving the grant.

If you don’t play by the rules, your TEACH Grant turns into a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, which means you have to pay it back with interest.

See the TEACH Grant website for more details.

Third-Party Organizations

There are hundreds of other scholarships and grants out there, ranging from small awards to full-ride scholarships.

Check out Explore Financial Aid to search for opportunities in the Houston area, or browse our national list of financial aid and scholarships.

Accept or Decline Financial Aid

Don’t forget: You’re not finished once you hit that submit button!

You will receive a financial aid letter (or email) with the details of your award offer(s). You will have to accept these offers to receive them. Remember, schools can offer you loans, which you have to pay back with interest. You can always reduce the amount of the loans or completely decline them if you do not need them.

Once you formally accept your financial aid package, you will be one step closer to securing your teaching certification.

Application Fee

When you submit your EPP application, pay the fee. It’s usually around $50.

In some cases, there may be fee waivers available, so take this opportunity to check in with an admissions officer or program official to see if you apply.

Sign up for Fee Reimbursements to get up to $100 towards application and testing fees. (We'll also set you up with a personal coach and checklist app that keeps track of application steps and deadlines.)

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