Receiving Title IV Aid for Teacher Certification Programs

The Office of Postsecondary Education has provided guidance for institutions where students enroll in teacher certification programs that do not lead to a degree, certificate, or other credential awarded by the institution. This guidance clarifies the conditions where an otherwise eligible student may receive Title IV aid, and also gives clear guidance where a student may not. For Title IV purposes, a teacher certification program is one where students receive a State certification that is required for employment as an elementary or secondary school teacher, even though the institution where the students take the coursework does not award a degree or other educational credential upon the completion of that coursework.

General Guidance

  • For a student to receive an initial teaching credential or certificate;
  • For periodic renewal of a teaching credential or certificate that is required by the State where the student currently has a credential or certificate;
  • For a student who has a teaching credential or certificate in one State to receive a credential or certificate in another State; or
  • For a student to receive an additional teaching certificate or credential that is required by a State for the student to teach in a different subject area. For example, a student who is currently certified to teach grades 1 through 5 may receive aid for a teacher certification program that includes courses needed to receive a certification that is required to teach special education. Similarly, a student who is currently certified to teach math may receive aid for a teacher certification program leading to a separate State certification that is required to teach science.

A student may not receive aid under the Title IV Federal student assistance programs for coursework that the student chooses to complete for professional advancement or recognition in the teaching field, but that is not required by the State to receive or maintain a teaching credential or certificate. In addition, when determining the cost of attendance and enrollment status for a student who is enrolled in a teacher certification program, schools may not include any coursework other than the coursework that is required by the State for the relevant teaching credential or certificate. Courses not required by the State may not be included, even if they are in related subject areas.

There are also a number of program-specific provisions which provide additional student eligibility requirements in each of the FSA programs. http://1.usa.gov/1sXoRrq

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