The number of opportunities available to students pursuing their special education/moderate disabilities credentials are astounding. If you’ve ever considered it, now is the time to act before some of these programs end.
First of all, there is the Federal TEACH Grant. The Federal TEACH Grant pays up to $4000 per year of graduate school to those pursuing credentials in low-income districts in high-need fields. While some concentrations such as mathematics or science qualify some years and not others, the special education/moderate disabilities concentrations have ALWAYS qualified for the TEACH Grant. This means that you could complete your master’s degree for free, or for a very reduced cost, by applying for the TEACH Grant. The TEACH program does require you to teach for at least four of the eight years following graduation at a qualifying school district, and to submit proof of employment annually during that same timeframe to your servicer. Learn more about the TEACH program, and see which school districts qualify.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program for Special Education Teachers
One of the greatest advantages to pursuing your special education credentials right now is that doing so also qualifies you for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. If you choose to borrow Federal Unsubsidized loans (either in addition to or in lieu of a TEACH Grant), your entire loan balance could be forgiven (aka eliminated!). If you teach in a low-income school district for at least five consecutive years after graduating, up to $17,500 of your Federal Unsubsidized and Subsidized Loans can be forgiven. And, the best part, your service obligation period for the TEACH Grant counts toward four of the five years required for Teacher Loan Forgiveness. So in just five years you can have both your TEACH Grant obligation completed AND qualify for up to $17,500 in student loan forgiveness as well. Learn more about the Teacher Loan forgiveness.
High Demand for Special Ed. Teachers
Part of the reason that there are so many great financial aid programs for special education teachers is because there is a national shortage of qualified educators in the field. Right now the market for special education teachers is hot with far more openings than there are qualified educators. So if you’re seriously considering pursuing your special education degree, now is definitely the time.