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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
    • Program or University
    • North Carolina State Programs
    • Third-Party Organizations
    • Federal Government Programs
      • FAFSA
      • TEACH Grant
      • Loan Forgiveness
    • 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 or merit. 
  • 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 perk.
  • 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.

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. It’s a good idea to consent to this section to be considered for 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. Check out the resources at The College Foundation of North Carolina for more information.

Third-Party 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.

Federal Government Programs

To support new teachers, Uncle Sam provides options for paying for your education.


Whether you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree or you’re still in college, you’ll remember the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Income, family size, parent age and more are taken into consideration when awarding federal grants and low-interest loans.

Deadline: You can submit your FAFSA application any time after October 1. The priority deadline for many schools is January 1. If miss this deadline, you can still apply. Remember that 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 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 targeting 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. 
  • 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.

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 sign up for My Application Coach to get up to $100 towards application and testing fees. (We'll also set you up with a personal advisor and checklist app that keeps track of application steps and deadlines.)