The mismanagement of the TEACH grant program

The Teach program was established to encourage teachers to work in critically important teaching positions. Under the program, teachers can receive grant funding, but the grant is converted to a federal loan if the teacher does not complete the required teaching service or fails to comply with paperwork requirements.

Public Citizen, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization, released a detailed report compiling evidence significant problems within the TEACH Grant program. Since 2008, 63 percent of all TEACH Grants have converted to federal loans, due in large part to the bizarrely complicated paperwork requirements established by the Department of Education and other administrative failures.

After a Freedom of Information Act records request, Public Citizen first had to demand and analyze an extensive Department of Education records. Findings:

  • Erroneous conversions of grants to loans and a lack of Department oversight of the private contractors administering the program
  • Excessively cumbersome certification requirements
  • Conversion of grants to loans for minor certification errors
  • Total failure to submit statutorily required reports to Congress
  • Significant delays in resolving borrower disputes

The Department now says it will reconsider some previous grant-to-loan conversions and overhaul its regulations.

Read the Full Report and Public Citizen’s recommendations here

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