New Grant Encourages Entering Teaching Field

Teachers who are looking for a reason to go back to school in these economic times may not only have a reason but may also have help in doing so through a new federal grant offered by Sam Houston State University.

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant offers students pursuing degrees in the teaching field up to $4,000 per academic year. Funded through the U.S. Department of Education, it was created by Congress through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007.

TEACH grants are designed to provide teachers in specific shortage areas, such as reading, math, science, special education, and bilingual education for high need campuses, according to College of Education Dean Genevieve Brown.

“We are so pleased that we are able to offer TEACH grants to help to address the shortage of teachers on high need campuses,” Brown said. “Superintendents and principals in our partnership school districts frequently express to us their needs for teachers in these subject areas.

“Almost all of our partnership districts have schools classified as high need because of high percentages of low socio-economic and/or second language learning students,” she said. “It is frequently difficult to recruit highly qualified teachers to serve in high need schools, and, traditionally, there is a high teacher turnover rate on these campuses.”

The grant is being offered beginning this summer for graduate students regularly admitted to eligible programs, including a Master of Education in five areas— instructional technology, instructional leadership, curriculum and instruction, reading, special education—or a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in either mathematics or science.

TEACH grants will be offered to qualifying juniors and seniors beginning in the fall for the 2009-2010 school year.

In addition, graduate students who begin the program this summer are eligible for retroactive funding for the fall 2008 and spring 2009 semesters, according to Mary Sweeten, senior financial aid counselor at SHSU.

Eligibility for the grant requires a number of steps, including submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, being a U.S. Citizen or an eligible non-citizen, being enrolled in coursework necessary to having a career in teaching or planning to complete such coursework, and scoring above the 75th percentile on a college admissions test or maintaining a 3.25 grade point average.

Recipients also must agree to teach full-time for at least four years in a high need area at a Title I school after completing the program, complete TEACH initial counseling and sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve online form. High need areas include bilingual education, English language acquisition, foreign language, mathematics, reading specialist, science and special education.

A list of schools serving low-income students (Title I schools) can be found at Click on “search” and then selecting a state and school.

The TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve, found at, details the conditions under which the grant will be awarded and the teaching service requirements. It also includes an acknowledgment by the student indicating that if the teaching service requirements are not met, the TEACH Grant will be converted into to a federal direct unsubsidized loan, with interest accrued from the date the grant funds were disbursed and must be repaid, Sweeten said.

“An ‘Agreement to Serve’ is a contract between the student and the Department of Education,” she said. “While it is a good program aimed at people who plan to teach, it can be kind of risky for those who are still undecided.”

Students who wish to start this summer must already be regularly admitted to the Graduate Studies program pursuing a master’s degree in an eligible program.

This includes future teachers seeking a master’s degree in conjunction with teacher certification, current teachers seeking a master’s degree in an eligible program to enhance their high needs classrooms, and even former teachers seeking a master’s degree in conjunction with teacher certification.

In all, Brown said, the TEACH program is a win-win situation for SHSU, teachers and the state of Texas.

“These grants assist us in meeting one of our most important goals, which is to provide outstanding teachers for Texas public schools,” she said. “We offer quality programs in all of the shortage areas and anticipate that the TEACH grants will result in increased enrollment in these programs.

“Additionally, quite a number of teachers need financial assistance in order to obtain their master’s degrees,” Brown said. “They are elated to learn that this assistance will be available to them through the TEACH grants.”

Those interested in taking advantage of the grant this summer still have time to be regularly accepted to one of the eligible graduate programs. The application deadline is May 15 for the first summer session and June 15 for the second summer session.

Applications are available online at

For more information, contact Sweeten at 936.294.1774.


- END -

SHSU Media Contacts: Jennifer Gauntt
April 10, 2009
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to




This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office
Director: Bruce Erickson
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834

Please send comments, corrections, news tips to



SHSU 'In the News'


Brian Domitrovic, assistant professor of history, appeared on Book TV (C-SPAN) May 1-2, speaking about his recent book "Econoclasts: The Rebels Sparked the Supply Side Revolution and Restored American Prosperity" (


Houston Chronicle education writer Jeannie Kever recently turned to Regents Professor of English Paul Ruffin for his views on university presses moving toward "digital books" as opposed to traditional ink-on-paper."We're fulfilling the ancient role of the university press, and that is to produce books," said Paul Ruffin, the Texas poet laureate for 2009 and director of the Texas Review Press at Sam Houston State University. "I don't want to give up the book because it is an art."


Faculty/Staff Birthdays


Monday, May 3

Debbie Birdwell


Tuesday, May 4

Rhonda Callaway

David Gaines

James Walker


Staff Council Spotlights


Jennifer Davis

Sonya Ramirez

Molly Doughtie

Sam Houston State University Sam Houston State UniversityA Member of The Texas State University System

"The measure of a Life is its Service."