The career of a teacher is one of love for education and children. While the salaries of teachers are not a high paid profession, the benefit is there are programs available for student loan debt relief. Available to teachers are both federal and state programs which will forgive the student loans. If you qualify for the loan programs, there are many state programs which allow you to utilize multiple avenues to maximize the amount of student loan debt to be unloaded.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be employed as a full time teacher for five consecutive years with a qualifying school or a low-income eligible school. You must have been employed as a teacher in these five years after the 1997-1998 academic school year. The loan also must have been made before the last year of teacher service. There is a set criterion for a school to be low-income eligible under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. At least 30 percent of the students enrolled in school must qualify for services, and the school must have qualified before the teacher’s active employment according to the Title I. The qualifying schools are listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits.
  • There is no outstanding balance on either the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP) loan or the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) as of October 1, 1998.
  • In order to obtain forgiveness on a defaulted loan, satisfactory repayment arrangements must be made to re-establish your eligibility.
  • AmeriCorps and teacher loan forgiveness programs cannot be used simultaneously
  • Secondary education teachers in math or science, or elementary and secondary special education teachers can receive up to $17,500 on FFELP and FDLP. For other teaching areas, this amount maximizes at $5,000 in student loan forgiveness. There are additional programs available to maximize loan forgiveness.
  • A teacher’s certification from the applicable school is also required at the time of application.

Requirements for up to $5,000 in Student Loan Forgiveness

  • Teaching Service must have begun before October 30, 2004.
  • Must have demonstrated an acting knowledge of teaching within the school’s curriculum.
  • If the teaching service is at a secondary school, the subject area is within your academic major.
  • Teachers working in a public school at an eligible elementary or secondary meet the definition of ‘highly qualified’ as determined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

To qualify for an Additional $12,500 in Student Loan Forgiveness, the teacher is employed as a mathematics or science teacher in a secondary school. This also includes those teachers working in Special Education. This includes teaching children with disabilities.

Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness Programs Available

Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) is directed at specifically the William D. Ford Direct Loan recipients. This includes direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans, direct PLUS loans and direct consolidation loans. The PSLF eligibility requirements are tough, as the forgiveness program was implemented over five years ago and adheres to strict qualifying criteria.

The Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program encourages teachers to stay in their profession. This program offers up to $17,500 in benefits to erase loan debt. The main qualifier is to be working at an eligible school for at least five years, and including the 1997-1998 academic year. The loans cannot be in default.

A more lenient plan for teacher student loan debt relief is the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program. This program will allow up to 100 percent of a Federal Perkins loan to be forgiven. The eligibility requirements only stipulate a year of active teaching is required. Each year the amount of the benefit increases. Teaching in a low-income school, preschool, or non-profit also qualifies for obtaining the benefit. In order to find out if a school qualifies check this database.

There is an abundant amount of State and City sponsored loan forgiveness programs. In fact, there are so many, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have a searchable database of loan forgiveness programs, grants, awards and classroom donation programs. This database provides accurate information on what programs exist and how to apply.

Teachers continue to remain the biggest asset in a child’s life learning. Although the wages of teachers are not over the top, and student loan debt can become a springboard for a teacher to leave their career choice for a more lucrative job. More loan programs are being implemented to help teacher’s stay in their chosen profession. Service oriented student loan forgiveness programs are becoming essential avenues to find loan relief.