Student loans 7 February 2023

Best Teaching Student Loans this Year

There are various types of student loans available for students who would like to study towards a teaching qualification. Read on to find out more so you can find the right fit for your needs.

Student Loans For Future Teachers

Teachers are the driving force behind every profession so teaching student loans play an important role in education as a whole. There’s an increased demand for educators so the government, as well as private lenders, are constantly issuing loans specifically designed for teachers. In this guide, we highlight the student loans available to those looking to pursue a degree in education, as well as the pros and cons of each one. With this knowledge in mind, you’ll be able to make the best financial decision toward becoming a teacher.  

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are offered by the government and can be issued in the form of loans or grants. They offer benefits that make repayment easier for the borrower and additionally offer protection from high-interest rates. However, some of the loans are capped and have a limit to how much a student can borrow each year. Consider any one of the following loan options:

Direct Subsidized


Direct Unsubsidized Grad PLUS Parent PLUS 
Who is eligible? UndergradsUndergrads, GraduatesGraduates, Professional StudentsParents
Current interest rate3.47%4.30%5.3% 7.54%
Loan limit per yearGraduate year onwards: $20,500Dependents: $31,000

Independent:  $57,000

No limitNo limit
Loan fee4% of loan amount4% of loan amount4.23% of loan amount4.23% of loan amount
Payment 6 months after you graduate

– Total repayment in max 30yrs
6 months after you graduate

– Total repayment in 10–25yrs
6 months after you graduate


– Total repayment in 10–25yrs

60 days after loan payout


– Total repayment in 10–25yrs

1. Direct Subsidized Loan

This is a government-subsidized loan that has a fixed interest rate. They are best for undergraduates and graduates who need additional funding when previous loans or grant money is not enough. The borrower needs to be enrolled at least half-time in a post-secondary education program and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 

Pros: Is eligible for loan forgiveness

Cons: May not be enough to cover the whole cost of attendance

2. Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Available to both undergraduate and graduate students, the borrower of this type of loan is responsible for interest accruing during the lifetime of the loan. Direct unsubsidized loans assist students by providing additional financial aid that has a lower interest compared to pirate loans. Eligibility is not need-based and students need to be U.S. citizens and be enrolled at least part-time.

Pros: Has a lower interest rate compared to other loans

Cons: Loan limit is not enough to cover all certified costs of attendance

3. Grad PLUS Loan

This is a federal loan with a fixed interest rate for graduate or professional students. Grad PLUS loans are meant to fill in the financial gap left after previous federal loans have been diminished and the whole cost of attendance has not been covered. Graduates enrolled at least part-time are eligible for this loan.

Pros: Offers additional aid to cover the entire cost of attendance

Cons: Interest accrues over the lifespan of the loan

4. Parent PLUS Loan

This is a federal loan issued to a student’s parents as a direct PLUS loan. The Parent PLUS loan is taken out by parents directly – this means only parents are eligible because the parent is charged with paying back the loan, not the student. This type of loan is ideal for borrowers who still have gaps in funding their education after borrowing the maximum limit of their unsubsidized and subsidized loans.

Pros: Parent borrowers can apply for deferment

Cons: A credit check is required

How to Apply for Teaching Student Loans

Aspiring teachers looking to apply for any one of the preceding federal student loans should take note of the following:

Eligibility requirements for Teaching Student Loans

Student loans that cater to future teachers typically have eligibility requirements such as being accepted into a teaching program or having a certain GPA. Additionally, applicants may need to provide proof of enrollment in an educational program and submit transcripts as part of their application.

Steps to Apply for Federal Loans for Teachers

Once eligible and can apply for federal loans, applicants must fill out the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA). This way, it will be easy for schools to determine the amount of financial aid to extend to each student. To do this, you will need to gather information pertaining to yourself, income, and taxes. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is the main step in qualifying for and getting a federal loan.

The following personal and financial information/documentation may be required:

  • Social Security Number
  • Alien Registration Number for non-U.S. citizens
  • A Federal Student Aid (FSA) Identification
  • Federal income tax returns, W-2s
  • Bank statements
  • Records of investments/ assets
  • Records of untaxed income
  • Driver’s license number (optional)
  • List of schools you wish to attend
  • Contact information: phone number or email address

Federal Loan Alternatives

In the event that a federal student loan doesn’t fit your situation, consider the following alternative that caters to students who are future teachers.


The Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program offers additional financial assistance to aspiring students pursuing a career in education. The total award money for undergraduate students is up to $16,000 and that for graduates is up to a maximum of $8,000.

The program offers financial assistance to undergraduate and graduate future teachers in exchange for a minimum of four-year teaching services after completing their studies and upon graduation. Upon successful completion of the service, the borrower is not obligated to repay the award money received through the TEACH Grant. Applicants for the grant program must be enrolled in participating institutions to remain eligible.

Pros: Need not repay the amount awarded to you

Cons: Requires a long commitment time to even out the aid failure to which the grant turns into a direct unsubsidized loan

Steps to Apply to Teach Grant

The first step to applying for the TEACH Grant will be to fill out and submit your FAFSA. Submit the form as early as possible as financial aid is disbursed on a first come first served basis. Ensure that you are planning to attend a participating school. Your school will then notify you of your eligibility and further status concerning the TEACH Grant program.

To apply, you will need the following personal and financial information/documentation:

  • A complete and submitted FAFSA
  • A Federal TEACH Grant Application
  • Complete Initial Counseling for the TEACH
  • TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve (ATS)
  • Documentation of teaching service before final approval

Private Student loans for Teachers

If you are unable to get federal aid as a teaching student, you can opt for one of the private options listed below.

LenderScholarooratingOur viewFixed ratesstarting (APR)Variable ratesstarting (APR)Learn more

Sallie Mae

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4.9/5Best for Loan Availability4.50%5.37%Visit website

College Ave

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4.9/5Best for Low-Interest Rates4.49%4.49%Visit website


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4.8/5Great for Fair Credit4.47%4.14%Visit website


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4.8/5The Best Repayment Terms4.62%5.74%Visit website

#1 Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is one of the largest private student loan lending institutions and is among the best lenders for private loans. It offers loans to undergraduates, graduates, and parents. The bank provides up to 100% of the amount requested by teaching students which equals up to the cost of attendance.

Pros of Sallie Mae Loans:

  • Can cover all teaching education expenses
  • No loan origination, application, or repayment fee

Cons of Sallie Mae Loans:

  • Has a minimum credit score

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program
  • International students need a cosigner who is a U.S citizen or resident
  • Be a U.S citizen or a resident attending an eligible school

Repayment Terms:

  • 10–15 year loan term
  • Has three repayment programs (deferred, fixed, and interest only repayments)
  • Cosigner is released after one year of consecutive timely payments

#2 College Avenue

College Avenue offers low-interest loans to undergraduate teachers, graduate teacher students, and parents, and they offer refinancing options too. They have a user-friendly website that makes the experience all the more convenient for users.

Pros of College Avenue:

  • Covers 100% of school costs
  • No loan origination fee for graduate and parent loans
  • Easy to apply
  • Flexible repayment options

Cons of College Avenue:

  • Can have a long loan approval process

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Meet set satisfactory academic progress
  • Be enrolled in an accredited school in the U.S.
  • Be at least 16 years of age

Repayment Terms:

  • 0.25% interest rate reduction on recurring payment
  • Borrowers can pay either while in school or after graduation
  • Average loan repayment term is 5–20 years

#3 Earnest

Earnest differs from other private student loan lenders as they not only consider credit scores but also the borrower’s salary, debt-to-income ratio, and employment history. They offer customized rates that are fair and on par with the information provided by the borrower

Pros of Earnest:

  • No late payment fees
  • No loan application or origination fee
  • Has a rate match feature

Cons of Earnest:

  • Requires a credit score of 650 and above

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Resident of the U.S. (excluding Nevada and Kentucky states) and District of Columbia
  • Age of majority in the state of residence.
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

Repayment Terms:

  • Choose individual monthly payment amount
  • 9 months grace period
  • Loan term range from five to 15 years

#4 Ascent

Ascent provides loans both for undergraduate and graduate teaching programs.  It allows borrowers a minimum loan amount of $2,001 up to the total cost of attendance requested. Ascent has an easy application process and offers both cosigned and non-cosigned teaching student loans.

Pros of Ascent:

  • Has the best repayment terms
  • Easy application process
  • Uses alternative factors to determine eligibility
  • No minimum income requirement

Cons of Ascent:

  • Has a minimum credit score

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a junior or senior
  • Be a U.S citizen or a permanent resident
  • At least 18 years of age

Repayment Terms:

  • 1% cash back reward upon showing proof of graduation
  • Five to 20 year repayment terms
  • Start payment from up to 9 months after graduation


Scholarships are financial awards to students that do not need to be paid back. Scholarships might not be able to cover the full cost of attendance for teaching students but they can contribute towards it and reduce the financial burden on students. There are many general scholarships available to students and some are even specific to teaching majors.

The requirements for each scholarship vary. For example, some scholarships are distributed based on merit while others are need-based.

Applicant requirements for scholarships may include one or more of the following:

  • Grade Transcript
  • Minimum GPA
  • Essay
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume/Present work experiences
  • Portfolio
  • Financial information
  • Oration
  • School verification
  • Short answers
  • Special project
  • Standardized test scores (SATs, ACTs)
  • Video submission


Here are some frequently asked questions.

What is the deadline for FAFSA? 

The application deadline for the 2022–2023 school year is June 30, 2023. The deadline can differ from state to state and also different schools have different time frames. Check with your school to establish their exact deadline.

Are teaching grants free? 

Teaching grants are free and are given out without any obligation to pay back the awarded sum of money. The grants have a caveat though. The student has to agree to teach for at least four years at an eligible school. 

Can federal loans be forgiven?

Yes, they can. Federal loans are susceptible to loan forgiveness. There are certain situations that can have your loan forgiven or discharged.

Final Thoughts

In the quest to become professional teachers, students have the option of accessing federal loans, as well as grants such as TEACH, to help pay off some of the costs of attendance. While both options allow you to keep your debt manageable, grants are also a great way for financially challenged students to qualify to be teachers and in return, offer to teach in uniquely challenged school environments. Make sure to weigh your options carefully before deciding on which route to choose. In doing so, you can get the financial assistance you need to fund your education and start your teaching career.