Once you have made up your mind to become a teacher, there are many decisions to make: what college to attend, what subject matter to study, what type of credentialing program to enter. If you are like most people, one of the biggest decisions is how to support yourself and pay for your education while you are earning your degree and credential. We'd like to help you understand the types of financial assistance available and give you information about specific programs in California.
What Is Financial Aid?
"Financial Aid" is a term that covers a wide variety of programs that help students and families pay for college or graduate school. The three major sources for aid are the federal government, state government, and educational institutions.
What Are the Types of Aid?
A gift, often based on achievement rather than need. Available from community and professional groups, businesses, foundations, unions, churches, and other organizations. Be wary about using for-profit scholarship search services which charge you a fee for information that is available for free.
Financial aid that does not need to be repaid. Grants such as the Cal Grant are often awarded based on need.
Money that must be repaid with interest (unless forgiven in return for a commitment to teach in high-need subjects or areas, such as in California's APLE program.) For some loans, the government pays the interest while you attend school.
Work-Study and Internships.
Federal, state, campus, or private programs that provide you with a job to help defray educational costs.
What is the Application Process?
You must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal student financial aid and to apply for most state and college aid. Applying online with FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov is faster and easier than using a paper FAFSA. The online application helps prevent errors that might delay your financial aid. Paper FAFSAs may be obtained from high school counselors, college financial aid offices, and by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243.
You and your parents can obtain PINs by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov. Click on the "Starting here" link and follow the prompts. Once you have completed the FAFSA, the PIN serves as a written signature for you and your parents. Another advantage of the PIN is to let you check on the status of your FAFSA.
New applicants applying for the Cal Grant programs are required to complete and file a FAFSA after January 1, but no later than March 2, of the year immediately preceeding the Fall term in which they hope to receive a Cal Grant.
Cal Grant applicants must also submit a Commission Grade Point Average (GPA) Verification Form including a GPA verified by a school official. The Commission's GPA Verification form may be obtained from high school counselors or college financial aid offices throughout California. Cal Grant applicants who wish to receive written confirmation of their award status must file a FAFSA and the GPA Verification form by the March 2 deadline. Applicants must obtain a $.90 U.S. Postal Service Certificate of Mailing in order to prove that the filing deadline was met and that each form was mailed to the appropriate mailing address.
- APLE Assumption Plan of Loans for Education
A teaching incentive program for students, out-of-state teachers and district interns to become California teachers in critical subject areas or designated schools.
- Cal Grants A, B & C
Financial aid for low- and middle-income students who have not earned a BA. Aid may be extended for a fifth year for people pursuing a teaching credential. Cal Grant A can be used for tuition and fees. Cal Grant B can be used for living expenses, books, tuition and fees. Cal Grant C can help pay for tuition and training costs at an occupational or career college.
- Cal HFA
The Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program (ECTP) helps make first-time homeownership a possibility by providing a deferred-payment junior loan for down payment assistance (from $7,500-$15,000, depending on the property location, or 3% of the purchase price, whichever is greater).
- California State Teachers' Retirement System
The largest U.S. teachers' retirement fund provides defined (lifetime) benefits for service retirement, survivor benefits and disability retirement.
- CalSTRS Home Loan Program
Whether purchasing a new home, refinancing to lower payments, or taking cash out, the CalSTRS Home Loan Program offers competitive rates on a variety of mortgage loan programs.
- Community College Transfer Entitlement Award
This award is given to California community college transfer students who were not awarded Cal Grant As and Bs within a year after graduation from high school.
- Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase
Public agencies such as cities and counties are permitted to use CDLAC tax credits or mortgage revenue bonds to support a program to recruit and retain teachers.
- FFEL Federal Family Education Loan
These are subsidized or unsubsidized loans available to either graduate or undergraduate students enrolled in at least half-time attendance at a college or university.
- FFEL Loan Forgiveness
This program is designed to encourage individuals to enter into and continue in the teaching
profession. The program pays up to $5,000 after the fifth year of teaching on outstanding loan balances.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
This program is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. This does not have to be repaid.
- Federal Work-Study
This program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need.
- Good Neighbor Next Door
Teachers can purchase HUD homes at 50% off list price in HUD designated revitalization neighborhoods. Reduced down payments are available with FHA insured mortgages.
- National Board Certification Incentive Program
An additional $20,000 is awarded to the recipient for service in low-performing schools.
- Pell Grants
This federal grant money is available to undergraduate students pursuing their first degree. Students must meet eligibility requirements.
- Perkins Loans
This is a federal loan program in which the funds you can receive depend on whether you're an undergraduate student or a graduate or professional student.
- Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program
This is a federal funded program in which scholarships are awarded solely on the basis of academic merit and may be renewed for up to four years.
- Stafford Loans
Loan limits depend on what year you are in school, whether you're a dependent student, and whether you are receiving "subsidized" or "unsubsidized" loans.
- Troops to Teachers
The program provides a link between current and prior armed service members who desire to pursue a career in education by providing counseling, financial and placement assistance.
For financial support, contact:
- California Student Aid Commission