A teaching credential is not considered a graduate degree unless the student is dually enrolled in the credential and master’s program. For financial aid purposes, a credential student is considered a 5th-year undergraduate student. However, the types of aid available for a teaching credential are different than those available for the undergraduate student. Please check with your university’s financial aid office for confirmation of your student status.

What type of aid is available for my teaching credential?

Golden State Teacher Grant (Website)


  • Be currently enrolled in a California-based professional preparation program approved by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).
    • List of eligible schools: Approved Institutions and Programs
    • Maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
  • Be working toward a preliminary teaching or pupil personnel services credential.
  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or CA Dream Act Application (CADAA).
  • Complete their program and obtain their credential within 3 years from the first distribution of GSTG funds.
  • Commit to work at a priority school in California for 4 years within 8 years of completing their program.
  • Also available to students who are undocumented

TEACH Grants (Website)

TEACH Grants are federal grants that award up to $4,000 a year to students pursuing a career as a teacher.

  • WARNING: TEACH grants require you to work for at least four years as an elementary school or secondary school teacher or in a specified high-need area of teaching. If you receive a TEACH grant but do not complete these requirements within eight years of graduating, the loans will be converted into unsubsidized loans, which you’ll be responsible for repaying in full.


  • Meet the basic eligibility criteria for the federal student aid programs
  • Complete a FAFSA form (not available for students who are undocumented)
  • Be enrolled at a school that participates in the TEACH Grant program
  • Be enrolled in a TEACH-Grant-eligible program
  • Meet certain academic achievement requirements (Example: 3.25 GPA or greater)
  • Receive TEACH Grant counseling
  • Sign the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve or Repay


  • Submit FAFSA
  • Contact the financial aid office at the school where you will be enrolled to find out whether the school participates in the TEACH Grant Program and to learn about the programs of study at the school that are TEACH-Grant-eligible.

Federal Student Loans (Website)


  • Applied for the FAFSA
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time at a school that participates in the Direct Loan Program
  • Not available for students who are undocumented

To apply

  • After you receive your award letter, inform your school you would like the loan
  • Complete the entrance counseling exam and sign the Master Promissory Note

Types of Loans

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans - for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students but it is not based on financial need. You are responsible for paying the interest on this loan during all periods.
  • Direct PLUS Loans – for graduate students, professional students, and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses but it is not based on financial need. A credit check is required.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans – allows you to combine all your eligible federal student loans into one with a single loan servicer

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (Website)


  • Be employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization (including U.S. military service)
  • Work full-time for that organization
  • Have Direct Loans
  • Repay your loans under an income-driven repayment plan
  • Make 120 qualifying payments
  • Not available for students who are undocumented

The PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made the 120 qualifying monthly payments. For more information, please click on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness link above.