WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mike Braun and Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s Consider Teachers Act has passed the Senate. The bill addresses problems with the TEACH Grant program, which saw many grants for teachers unfairly converted into loans.
The TEACH Grant program provides grant assistance to students who serve four years as a full time teacher in high-need, often underserved communities. Often due to basic clerical mistakes, thousands of teachers have found their grants converted into loans that must be paid back with interest. The Consider Teachers Act fixes this broken system permanently.
“The TEACH grant is an important program that incentivizes teachers to serve in neglected communities, but 12 years of poor government management has unfairly transferred grants into loans for thousands of teachers,” said Senator Braun. “I’m proud this bill has passed the Senate to show our appreciation for these teachers, and I implore the House to act quickly to pass it.”
“Arizona teachers use TEACH grants to serve families in low-income schools. The government made a promise to those teachers, and our commonsense, bipartisan bill ensures the government honors its obligation,” said Senator Sinema.
- In 2007, the federal government created the TEACH Grant, providing grant assistance to students who serve four years as a full-time teacher in a high-need field. Under program terms, if service requirements are not met, grants are converted into loan obligations. While the program was well- intentioned, poor program administration has resulted in teachers unfairly having grant dollars converted into loans—prompting many to refer to the converted grants as “groans.” The Consider Teachers Act addresses these challenges that are thwarting the program’s intent.
- According to the Office of Management and Budget, the majority of TEACH Grants, 66%, are converted into Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans which must be paid back with interest. Once converted, a loan cannot revert back to grant. 21,000 teachers have completed the program without a conversion, but 94,000 recipients have had their grants converted to loans. Small paperwork issues often triggered the conversions. For example, if teachers sent in their annual form one day late, or had other problems, such as a missing date or signature, the grant was converted.