As is the case with any job transition, corps members should be prepared for transitional costs before receiving their first paycheck from their school district. We recognize that covering these costs can be difficult. In response to this challenge,  we offer need-based funding packages of no-interest loans and grants to enable corps members of all financial backgrounds to transition to the corps.

If you are invited to a final interview, you will be eligible to apply for a transitional funding package. 

Packages are based on an applicant's demonstrated need, cost of moving, and cost of living expenses in your assigned region before receiving your first paycheck. While we’d like to be able to give everyone the amount required to fully pay for all transition costs, we are a non-profit distributing a limited amount of money across thousands of corps members, and thus corps members should expect to cover some of the costs of their transition. The package is designed to assist with some transitional costs including, but not limited to:

  • Travel to training and the region where you will teach
  • Relocation expenses including rent, housing deposit, gas, moving, etc.
  • Testing and initial certification fees before your first paycheck

Transitional funding packages are not guaranteed for all applicants that apply. Corps members receive grants and loans at the beginning of training and should be prepared to pay upfront for costs incurred before arriving to training.


Teach For America covers the following costs during training to allow you to focus on your development as a teacher:

  • Housing and food during the five-seven week training
  • Transportation to and from your school site during training
  • Housing and food during regional induction, if applicable, which usually occurs prior to the start of training in the placement region


It can take from three to six weeks after the beginning of the school year to receive your first paycheck from the school district. Some expenses could potentially be covered by your transitional funding package, while other expenses will not be covered and should be a part of a planned budget. 

Teaching-Specific Expenses

Corps members will incur teaching-specific expenses, including testing, initial certification, fingerprinting, and background checks. Corps members should plan to pay for these expenses out-of-pocket. If you receive a need-based transitional funding package, you may choose to use part of this award for initial testing and certification expenses. You can learn more about costs and payment options by visiting our regional pages, and you'll receive more specifics upon your assignment to a region. Use our regional comparison spreadsheet to explore how expenses can differ from region to region. 

Living Expenses

We consider many of these general living expenses in the need-based transitional funding package. Sample summer expenses include:

Summer Expenses Considered in the Need-Based Transitional Funding Package

Expense Average
Up to two months of rent and utilities after training $400-1,100
Apartment deposit, equivalent up to first and last month of rent $800-2,200
Travel to training $300-500
Shipping and storage $150
Furniture $350
Professional clothing $215
School supplies $250

Summer Expenses NOT Considered in the Need-Based Transitional Funding Package

Expense Average
General living costs, such as rent and food, before training and/or regional induction $400-2,000
Cable and internet activation and bills $50-200
Cell phone activation and bills $50-200
Additional travel (e.g., vacation, between region and institute) $100-1,000
Car purchase payment, or insurance  +$200/month
Academic Fees Varies
Medical Bills Varies



Corps members and alumni use TFANet to connect with each other to find roommates, locate apartments for rent, or post listings. You can also use TFANet to ask questions, post comments, and share recommendations about neighborhoods and housing options. Additionally, summer training serves as great opportunity to talk with other corps members about finding housing together.

Spotlight: Oklahoma

Today, just 37 percent of Oklahoma's students graduate with an ACT score that will afford them entry into the state's two largest universities. But Oklahoma is a state that is ready for reform, and corps members have a seat a the decision making table. 

Explore the Oklahoma region »

Regional Cost Calculator

Use the cost calculator on each of our regional pages to see how your income and expenses could vary by region.

Go to our regions »

Regional Comparison Spreadsheet

Compare costs across our 50 regions. 

Download the spreadsheet »