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Finances in North Carolina

30 minutes
30 minutes

Finances in North Carolina

This guide explains options for financial aid, scholarships, loan forgiveness and more.

Jump to:

  • Financial Aid & Scholarships
    • Federal Government Programs
      • FAFSA
      • TEACH Grant
      • Loan Forgiveness
    • Program or University
    • North Carolina State Programs
    • Third-Party Organizations
    • Accept or Decline Financial Aid
  • Application Fee

If you have any questions about financing your education, reach out to a TeachNC application coach or educator preparation program admissions staff for support. We’re here for you.

Take finances into account when you apply to an educator preparation program (EPP). And recognize that you have options when it comes to funding your education.

Here’s to financial prowess!

Financial Aid & Scholarships

There are four types of financial aid that you should look out for: grants and scholarships, student loans, loan forgiveness and work-study. 

  • Grants and scholarships do not need to be paid back, and are generally awarded based on need, merit or both. 
  • Student loans need to be paid back (subsidized loans will not accrue interest while you are enrolled in school, but unsubsidized ones will).
  • Loan forgiveness is an option for teachers who serve in particular types of schools for a set period of time. Loan forgiveness means you won’t need to repay your outstanding federal student loan balance. Check with your educator preparation program to learn how to qualify for this substantial benefit.
  • Work-study allows students with financial need to earn money towards educational expenses by working part-time (usually on campus).

If you qualify for work-study, try to align your job or service with your area of study. That way you can get hands-on experience while paying for your education.

There are also other financial benefits to North Carolina teachers, such as mortgage assistance. Head over to Salary & Benefits to learn more.

Federal Government Programs

If your educator preparation program (EPP) is part of a college or university, Uncle Sam provides options for paying for your education. You may be eligible for grants, low-interest loans, loan forgiveness or all three.

You’ll need to submit the FAFSA online to receive benefits. 


If you want to apply for grants, loans and many scholarships, you’ll start by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application asks about income, family size, parent age and more to determine your eligibility for federal grants and low-interest loans. 

Many colleges and EPPs also use the information you submit in the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for other forms of aid—for most programs, it’s crucial that you fill this out! If you’re not sure, ask your EPP.

Deadline: You can submit your FAFSA application any time after October 1. The priority deadline for many schools is January 1. If you miss this deadline, you can still apply—but some forms of aid are first-come-first-serve, so apply as soon as you can!

See the FAFSA website for more details. Our friends at withFrank.org also make it easy to understand and apply for your FAFSA.


Offered by the Federal Student Aid office (the same one that runs FAFSA), the TEACH Grant offers up to $4,000 a year to students entering the teaching profession. However, not all EPPs participate in the TEACH Grant Program.

To remain eligible for your TEACH grant, after you complete you program you must:

  • Teach in a high-need field, such as bilingual education, math, science and special education.
  • Teach at an elementary school, secondary school or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families.
  • Teach for at least four complete academic years within eight years after receiving the grant.

If you don’t play by the rules, your TEACH Grant turns into a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, which means you have to pay it back with interest.

See the TEACH Grant website for more details.

Loan Forgiveness

If you use federal loans to pay for your program, you may be able to have all or part of your loans forgiven without paying them back. The federal government offers teachers, especially those who serve in high-need subjects or schools, several ways to apply for loan forgiveness.

Check out these programs on the Federal Student Aid website:

  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness cancels up to $17,500 in federal loans for highly qualified math and science teachers who work for five years in low-income schools. If you teach a different subject, you may still be eligible for up to $5,000.
  • Perkins Loan Cancellation wipes out up to 100 percent of your federal Perkins loans for teachers at low-income schools or who teach math, science or other high-need subjects.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness cancels the remaining balance of your federal loans after 10 years of on-time payments while working full-time in public service fields, including teaching.

North Carolina also offers Forgivable Education Loans for Service, which offers up to up to $7,000 for certificate, associate and bachelor's programs, and up to $14,000 for master's and doctoral degrees for educators.

Program or University

Check to see if your EPP offers financial aid. If it does (most do), be prepared to provide your name, Social Security Number, email and other background information.

Some forms will include a Release of Information, which authorizes specified individuals, agencies and organizations access to your form details. While it is your choice to consent, opting out will exclude you from some financial aid programs.

North Carolina State Programs

As an aspiring teacher in North Carolina, you may be eligible for grants, scholarships and forgivable loans specific to students enrolled in educator preparation programs. 

For example, the North Carolina Teaching Fellowship provides up to $8,250 each year in forgivable loans for qualified students committed to teaching special education or STEM—that’s science, technology, engineering and math classes!

Check out our Aid Explorer for more statewide financial aid opportunities, along with the resources at The College Foundation of North Carolina for more information.

Third-Party and National Organizations

There are hundreds of other scholarships and grants out there, ranging from small awards to full-ride scholarships. Browse our national list of financial aid and scholarships.

You can apply for the TeachNC $1,000 scholarship too!

Accept or Decline Financial Aid

Don’t forget: You’re not finished once you hit that submit button!

You will receive a financial aid letter (or email) with the details of your award offer(s). You will have to officially accept these offers to receive them. Remember, schools can offer you loans, which you have to pay back with interest. You can always reduce the dollar amount of the loans or completely decline them if you don’t need them.

Once you formally accept your financial aid package, you will be one step closer to beginning your educator preparation program.

Application Fee

When you submit your EPP application, pay the fee. It’s usually around $50. There may be separate fees for the university application and the EPP program application. Make sure you read all documentation carefully.

In some cases, there may be fee waivers available, so take this opportunity to check in with an admissions officer or program official to see if you qualify.

Did you know? You can get up to $100 towards application and testing fees with TeachNC's Fee Reimbursement program.

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Guide to ApplicationsGuide to Required Tests
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