Teach Iowa Scholar Program

The Teach Iowa Scholar (TIS) Program provides qualified Iowa teachers with awards of up to $4,000 a year, for a maximum of five years, for teaching in Iowa schools in designated shortage areas. Qualified teachers are those currently teaching in designated shortage areas who meet all of the eligibility criteria below.

Eligibility Criteria

An applicant must:

  • Graduate from a teacher preparation program on/after January 1, 2013 (including undergraduate, masters or intern programs)*
    • Only teachers who complete a bachelor's or master's teacher preparation program on/after January 1, 2013 are eligible; completing coursework to add an endorsement to your teaching license does not qualify.*
  • Graduate in the top 25% academically of all teacher preparation program graduates during the academic year in which you graduated. ‘Top 25% academically’ is defined and certified by the college/university from which you graduated.
  • Secure full-time employment for the 2020-21 school year in a designated shortage area at a school district, area education agency, charter school, or accredited nonpublic school recognized and approved by the Iowa Department of Education
  • Have an Iowa teaching license and the corresponding endorsement of the shortage area in which you teach.
  • Submit the TIS application by November 20, 2020.
  • Teaching assignment code must be an eligible BEDS code.

**Due to funding limitations, only applications from 2018/19 and 2019/20 graduates are being solicited for the 2020-21 application cycle.

Award Amount & Payment Options

Teachers who are selected for awards can receive up to $4,000 per year for up to 5 consecutive years of full-time employment.

The award can be disbursed in one of two ways:

  • Sent to your lender as a lump-sum payment toward your outstanding federal student loan balance, or
  • Sent as a lump-sum payment to you. Payments issued to individuals are considered taxable income and the State of Iowa will issue a 1099 MISC to you for tax filing purposes.*
    *You may want to consider the Pay Me option if you are trying to qualify for any other loan forgiveness program.

Designated Shortage Areas

The following fields have been designated by the Iowa Department of Education as shortages in Iowa for the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers who teach in these areas and whose license has the required endorsement and has eligible BEDS codes can qualify for TIS awards. The chart below lists the designated shortage areas in order from highest need to lowest need which factors into Awarding Priority.

Rank Required Endorsement Number Endorsement Title Grade Level(s)
1 266 Deaf or Hard of Hearing Birth to 21
2 267 Visually Impaired Birth to 21
3 140 Industrial Technology 5-12
4 139 Family and Consumer Sciences 5-12
5 185 All Science 5-12
6 108, 109, 174 Teacher Librarian K-8, 5-12 & K-12
7 260, 261 Instructional Strategist I Mild/Moderate K-8 & 5-12
8 263, 264 Instructional Strategist II BD/LD and ID K-8 & 5-12
9 121-136, 177-180, 187, 188 World Languages - All K-8 & 5-12
10 112 Agriculture 5-12
11 172, 173 Professional School Counselor K-8 & 5-12
12 107 Talented & Gifted PK-12
13 1171 Business - All 5-12
14 104 English as a Second Language K-12
15 156 Physics 5-12

License and Endorsements

Teachers with the following license types will be considered for TIS awards:

  • Initial
  • Standard
  • Master Educators
  • Class E
  • Administrative Decision
  • Regional Exchange
  • Class B/Conditional
  • Initial Professional Service
  • Professional Service

The teacher's license must have the required endorsement corresponding to the shortage area in which they teach.

Employment Verification

Teacher employment will be verified using BEDS codes reported by your school. Only teachers whose BEDS code(s) relate to the shortage area will be considered for awards. 

Awarding Priority

Funding is limited for the 2020-21 school year. As a result, applications are limited to 1) teachers renewing their TIS award from a previous year and 2) teachers who recently graduated. Awards will be granted according to the following priority:

  1. Teachers from all prior years renewing their TIS award
  2. Teachers who graduated from a teacher preparation program during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school year and who are working full-time in 2020-21, in shortage areas. If all teachers in category 2 can't be funded, teachers will be ranked according to:
    1. Shortage area in which they teach
    2. Iowa resident status
    3. Date of application

How to Apply

The application for the 2020-21 academic year will open on September 1. Apply on or after that date. 

Teach Iowa Scholar Application

Important Dates

November 20, 2020: Application deadline