Federal teach grants subsidizing teacher preparation are actually burdening a fair number of recipients, with nearly 40 percent of the grants converting into unsubsidized loans, according to an analysis published last week.
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education is a grant-loan program that helps subsidize recipients’ teacher preparation. If those candidates don’t meet the service commitment, which includes teaching in a low-performing school for four years, they have to repay the grant with interest.
Based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, the centrist think tank Third Way found that since 2008, 37.5 percent or about 36,000 of the 95,000 grants have been converted into loans.
What’s more, the group says the grants aren’t going to candidates in programs identified as being the best by U.S. News and World Report. In 2013-14, highly ranked programs at Michigan State had just 80 candidates receiving teach grants; those at Teachers College, Columbia University, Stanford University, and Vanderbilt University had far fewer. Meanwhile, the for-profit Grand Canyon University gave out 1,900 grants and the largely online National University gave out 1,500. Neither of those institutions is on the list of top-ranked programs.
And 22 of the 38 education colleges identified as poor performing under federal rules have offered the grants at one point or another.
Nonetheless, there isn’t agreement about what constitutes good practice in teacher preparation or how to measure it.
A version of this article appeared in the January 21, 2015 edition of Education Week as Analysis Finds Costly Consequences for Many TEACH Recipients