The teacher loan forgiveness program is a government initiative designed to reward educators who have chosen to work in high needs teaching areas. Any currently employed teacher who took out their loans after October 1, 1998 and works in a designated “low income” school district may qualify for the loan cancellation program. If a loan forgives application is accepted, your loans are essentially erased, including any interest that was incurred.
Some Important Facts About Teacher Loan Forgiveness
- The forgiveness program only applies to the outstanding balance at the time the application was accepted. Previous payments are not refunded. The maximum possible forgiveness possible is $5,000.
- A teacher must usually complete a “term of service” that is 5 full academic years of service in a designated school district in order to qualify for loan cancellation. A list of designated schools can be found online at www.tcli.ed.gov .
- The teacher will need the signature approval of their chief administrative officer (usually a principal, vice principal, or superintendent) in order to qualify for loan forgiveness.
- Only full time, credential teachers qualify for loan forgiveness. Part time teachers, teacher’s aides, Para-educators, coaches, and part time specialist teachers (such as reading aides) do not qualify.
- Loan forgiveness is at the direction of the individual loan provider, and there is no way to be automatically approved for loan forgiveness.
- Teaching Secondary math and science or teaching special education in any capacity increases your allotted forgiveness maximum to $17,500.
The Importance of Requesting Loan Forbearance
Forbearance can be requested for up to 60 days while the forgiveness application is accepted. It is important to request forbearance so you do not lose potential benefits. Remember that any payments made before the forgiveness application is accepted are not refunded, even if your principle drops below the possible forgiveness amount.
The Application Process:
- Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements mentioned above. More specifics about requirements are detailed in the 4 page teacher loan forgiveness application.
- Fill out the forgiveness application online. It can be found on the Federal Department of Education website under Student Financial Aide.
- Return the application to either the Department of Education (if you have a federal loan) or your loan service provider (if you have a direct loan).
- If your service provider agrees that you qualify, you will be mailed a check for the forgiveness balance.