How to Find Grants for Teachers in Graduate School

Jan 02, 2019

Teachers pursuing graduate degrees can find grants to help pay for their education through federal and private programs. Some popular ones include the Pell Grant and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant.

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Graduate Education Grants

Teachers in graduate school can consider federal grants, like the Pell Grant and the TEACH grant, as well as grants from other organizations and associations. Online resources can help teachers find these grants. The federal government offers grants for teachers based on financial need. Grants are also available from private organizations, which may provide general funding or offer grants based on specific teacher attributes, like the subject taught, excellence in the profession, or innovation in science or technology. Grant money may be used to further a teacher's education, provide necessary equipment for the classroom, or fund academic research. The following are a few examples of grant programs open to teachers pursuing graduate degrees.

Federal Grants

Teachers interested in obtaining federal grants, such as Pell Grants and TEACH Grants, must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to determine grant eligibility. In this form, graduate students input information about their current financial situation. More information about federal grants and the FAFSA is available on the U.S. Department of Education's Student Aid website.

One of the most well-known federal grants - the Pell Grant - provides low-income students an opportunity to earn a bachelor's or graduate degree from a participating school. To be eligible, teachers in graduate school must be enrolled in a program that leads to a teaching license or certification. Financial need is the main criteria for the Pell Grant's eligibility requirements.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant offers a maximum of $4,000 each year for students committed to a teaching career. Students must complete the teaching requirements specified, or the grant may be converted to a federal student loan that must be repaid. Not all college students and universities participate in the TEACH program, and students should check with the school's finance department. Criteria for the grant include:

  • Teaching an underrepresented subject, such as languages, mathematics, or science
  • Teaching for a minimum of four years
  • Teaching at an underprivileged school designated by the U.S. Department of Education

Non-Federal Grants

Non-federal grants are offered by organizations that have an interest in helping teachers continue their education. Some of these programs are federally funded but administered through non-profit organizations. To find information about foundations that offer education grants, teachers can check with the National Education Association Foundation, which publishes lists of relevant grants.

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program is a federally funded program administered by the Institute of International Education. Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching are independent study-abroad grants for full-time teachers with at least five years of teaching experience. Teachers applying for these grants should be enrolled in a master's degree program or already have a master's.

Teachers who teach technology and engineering at the primary, elementary, or secondary level may qualify for the Pitsco/Hearlihy/Foundation for Technology and Engineering Educators Grant. The Pitsco Company, along with its subsidiary, Hearlihy, and the Foundation for Technology Education, award $2,000 annually to K-12 educators who incorporate the teaching of technology into their school's curriculum. Requirements for applicants include:

  • Membership in the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA)
  • Registration for the annual ITEEA conference and attendance at the awards ceremony
  • Being an elementary school teacher or high school technology or engineering teacher who augments a school's curriculum with a technology or engineering program

The national non-profit organization provides links to several grant opportunities to teachers for general or specific curricular needs. The website offers information to support teachers, such as news, discounts, and awards programs. Grants that may benefit current or returning students include:

  • Fund for Teachers, which provides financial assistance for education in the field of teaching
  • National Environmental Education Foundation, which awards grants for teachers to take graduate courses related to teaching environmental studies
  • NEA Foundation - offers many grant opportunities for public school teachers to earn a degree in a new subject

There are a variety of online resources that teachers in graduate schools can use to find grant opportunities.

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