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Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program: Eligibility Requirements

teacher loan forgiveness

Teaching requires a great deal of responsibility and knowledge. At the same time, it provides additional rewards for educators. One of them is the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program which lets teachers erase their student loans quickly. With the help of this program, your student loan balance will get much lower. These days Public Service Loan Forgiveness gets more headlines. That’s why more people try to eliminate their student debt by applying for this program. However, you need to realize that Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness is not the only option for loan forgiveness.   

One of the best options to erase your student loan debt is through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. According to program rules, you need to educate low-income schools. Different from the Public Service Forgiveness, you can quickly eliminate your debt after five years of service. 

Generally speaking, Student Loan Forgiveness for teachers aims to help specific students who pursue their careers in education. We will give details of this forgiveness program. However, the main idea in this program is that the government forgive the loans of students who work five years in low-income schools.

Requirements for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Generally, there are four main requirements for this forgiveness program. Initially, you need to have a Direct or Federal Family Education student loan. And you need to take it after October 1, 1998. Secondly, you must be a full-time teacher for five academic years. At the same time, the school you work for must be eligible for the program. More specifically, you need to work for five years at low-income schools. If the school qualify for the forgiveness program for any year you worked there, then all the years of your service will qualify as well. This law will apply even if the school is no longer eligible. On the other hand, the school could become eligible after you started your service here. In that case, you will not receive a satisfactory teaching service for previous years.  

Another requirement for this forgiveness program is that you must complete at least one year of teaching service after the 1997-1998 academic year. If you want to get forgiveness for your default loan, then you need to provide satisfactory student loan repayment. Without that repayment arrangements, you will not be able to establish your student aid eligibility. Students will not be able to receive AmeriCorps or Teacher Loan Forgiveness benefits for their teaching. In the end, you might receive $5.000 or less for your teaching service. $17.000 loan forgiveness will be for science, math, and individual education teachers. 

Other than general eligibility requirements, students should consider additional conditions to qualify for the forgiveness program. You need to get a certification from the school’s administrative officer. In most cases, it is a human resource official or assistant principal. You can obtain it from the educational service agency as well. But it will be effective when you receive forgiveness application after August 14, 2008.  

Do you qualify for the five-year service requirement?

teacher loan forgivenessThe essential point for you is to have the teaching service consecutive and full five years. In other words, you cannot teach for three years, take a period, and then after some time continue teaching. Otherwise, you will not complete five years of teaching. But keep in mind that it is not necessary to have five years of education at the same school. You can change your school during the service. However, try not to take a break for five years. 

While performing your teaching service, you need to be a highly qualified teacher. It means you need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree in education. Additionally, having a teaching certificate will be an advantage for you. It might help you to receive full student loan forgiveness. Before starting your service, you will need to demonstrate your knowledge by taking a state test. It will show your competency and increase your chances of getting full forgiveness. 

There is one universal question that interests most of the students. What will happen if you could not complete the entire school year? If you complete half of the academic year, you will erase one year from five years of teaching service. The employer considers the partial year as full one year. But you need to return to your school for the next year teaching service, provide a medical condition. Or you need to activate your service in the armed forces. 

Does your school qualify?

There is a certain number of low-income schools. The Department of Education provides a complete list of these schools. You can easily access this list online. If you are not sure whether the Department of Education considers your school as low-income or not, check the online catalog. But there is an essential point we want to mention. It is enough to be a low-income school for just one year of your teaching service. If your school was low-income during your one year of service and was not low-income during other years, your service will be eligible for all years.

To qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness, you need to have Federal Stafford Loans or Direct Student Loans. It could be both subsidized and unsubsidized. Federal Student Loans and Direct Student Loans will be eligible for forgiveness as well. If you have a defaulted loan, you will not be able to benefit from Student Loan Forgiveness for teachers. In that case, you need to make repayment arrangements for your investment. The bad news is that, if you have Perkin loans or PLUS loans, you will not be eligible for the Teacher Forgiveness program. But Perkin loans can qualify for other kinds of forgiveness programs. 

How much money can you erase from your balance?

teacher loan forgivenessGenerally, there are two kinds of forgiveness in the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. In the first forgiveness case, you will be able to erase $17.000 from your account. But to do so, you need to be a highly qualified and certified teacher. Mostly, science and math teachers manage to get that forgiveness. In the second forgiveness case, you can eliminate $5.000 from your balance. Teachers who work in any academic subject area can manage to get up to $5.000 forgiveness. 

Most of the student forgiveness programs are tax-exempt. Teacher Forgiveness program is also one of these programs. It means, after completing your five years of teaching service, you will not need to pay additional student loan taxes. We want to mention that not all forgiveness programs work like this. For example, if you get a specific portion of your loan forgiven, current law will treat this forgiveness as a taxable income. 

How to apply to student loan forgiveness for teachers?

You can apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program only after completing five years of teaching service. After that, you can use it for forgiveness by submitting an application form. You will submit this form to your student loan debt servicer. You will need to get your school’s chief administrative officer to complete the certification form. Depending on your condition, there should be a need for additional types. Note that you should submit the certification. And you can send the application only to one loan servicer.