Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness
Teachers May Qualify for Student Loan Refinance!
Did you know that you can refinance student loan debt to rates as low as 2.13%? SoFi members save $14,000 on average. No application, origination, or pre-payment fees.
Becoming a teacher can be a costly – and let’s face it – a less than lucrative career path. This means that the process of repaying student loans can be incredibly difficult and lengthy. However, there are many grants available to students pursuing careers in teaching that can offset the costs of their education. This can be a tremendous boon for students and serves as an incentive for the training of more teachers.
Federal Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness
Federally, the Pell Grants and Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants have direct stipulations regarding training to become an educator. The Pell Grant extends its eligible pool of candidates from undergraduate students at colleges and universities to those that are enrolled in teacher certification programs. The TEACH Grant is given to undergraduates who intend on becoming teachers; signing on as a TEACH Grant recipient obligates the recipient to teach 4 complete academic years at a school that serves low-income families.
The Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness is a program that helps to reduce the amount of money a teacher owes on their student loans if they meet all of the eligibility requirements. Below, we will go into detail about the program, who qualifies, and the relief you can receive.
Who Can Apply?
The program is limited to those who qualify and is not open to all students. In fact, to apply and be considered for the teacher student loan forgiveness, a person must be teaching directly in a classroom or provide a classroom type of teaching style in a non-classroom setting.
Are There Eligibility Requirements?
Yes. There are eligibility requirements that MUST be met before you can receive forgiveness on your loans. It is important that you make sure you are always meeting these requirements and that you have satisfied them all before you apply to have your loan forgiven.
Some of the eligibility requirements include:
· Your student loan origination date must be AFTER October 1, 1998
· Loans that are to be forgiven must have been made prior to the last five years of working as a teacher
· Your student loans CANNOT be in default
· You must have satisfied and completed five full years as a full time teach and at least one of those years must have been after the 1997-1998 school year
· If you spent time in AmeriCorps, those years of service do NOT count toward the five years
· You must be employed at an elementary or secondary school that is either a title one school, listed in the directory of low income schools for teacher benefits, or is made up of children who are qualified for services under the title one
It is important for you to make sure that the school you attend is qualified to participate in the forgiveness program. If the school is not, you may find that the years you serve as a teacher are not counted toward the five-year consecutive minimum.
How Do I Know if the School is Considered Low Income?
When you are seeking employment, it is important that you pay attention to the school you apply to. You may be wondering how you can determine whether or not a school is considered low income.
The Department of Education posts a list each year of all elementary and secondary schools that are considered to be low income. You can view this list by visiting the Department of Education website.
Before you accept employment at any school and begin serving your five years, you need to make sure the school qualifies and that you can use the time teached toward your loan forgiveness.
Benefits Once You Reach the Five Years Teached
Once you have been teaching for five consecutive years, you will be able to apply for the teacher student loan forgiveness program and receive forgiveness for your loans. Before you assume that the entire loan will be paid off, you must understand that you receive a certain amount of money to put toward your student loan. Some students think that the entire loan is paid off, so they stop paying on their student loan, which goes into default, and then disqualifies them for the forgiveness.
Below, we will go over some of the benefits you will receive based on the time you served.
Completed Time BEFORE October 30, 2004
If you have completed your five consecutive years of teaching PRIOR to October 30, 2004, then you will qualify to receive either $5,000 or $17,500 in forgiveness.
To qualify for $5,000, you must have been a full-time teacher in wither reading, math, writing, or another area within the curriculum. You will also qualify if you were a full time secondary school teacher as long as you taught within the area you studied.
To receive the $17,500, you must be considered a highly qualified teacher that worked full time in either science or math. Or, you must have been a highly qualified special education teacher.
Service Started or Completed AFTER October 30, 2004
You will receive $5,000 if you were considered a highly qualified full time secondary school or elementary school teacher.
To qualify for $17,500, you will need to have a certified letter from the chief administrative officer that you were a full time highly qualified teach in a science or math course or you were a highly qualified special education teacher.
What is a Highly Qualified Teacher?
A highly qualified teach is one that has met the requirements to have such title. The requirements include:
· Having received your full state certification as a teacher
· Have had no suspensions, holds, or anything of the like on your license or certification
· Have passed the state teaching licensing exams and have received a license to teach
In addition to the above requirements, you may find that you qualify as a highly qualified teacher if you have a bachelor’s degree, you demonstrate your ability within subject matters, you meet all of the requirements and standards of an elementary teacher, etc.
What Happens if I Do NOT Complete a Full Teaching Year?
Sometimes it may not be possible for you to teach full time for the entire year. You may be worried that you will lose time and not qualify because of the gap in the consecutive five years of teaching. It is possible for you to still receive credit for the time taught. In fact, you can receive credit for the time taught IF:
· Your employer says that you fulfilled your contract
· You finished at LEAST one half of the year
· You have to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act
· You are deployed or called to service
How to Apply for the Program
If you are ready to apply for the teacher student loan forgiveness program, you will need to print off the application and then return it to your loan service provider. You will be notified if your application is approved or if you have not met the requirements.
Remember, you should always check every year to make sure that you are meeting the requirements to avoid any hiccups in the road.
State Teacher Forgiveness
On the individual state level, many states will offer grants specifically tailored to teachers as well. In Alaska for instance, part of the AlaskAdvantage Education Grant Program has specific stipulations that tailor it towards students enrolled in studies related to teaching.
In California, the California Student Aid Commission gives eligible teachers in the state of California up to $19,000 to repay their loans after teaching at a low-performing California public school for 4 years.
In Connecticut, the CT Minority Teacher Incentive is awarded to a college junior or senior who attends a CT college or university and is enrolled in a teacher preparation program. Not only does the grant give up to $5,000 per year over 2 years, it also offers to reimburse up to $10,000 in loans, split over 4 years if the recipient teacher opts to teach at a CT public school.
Private Teacher Forgiveness
Private foundations may also offer to fund specific masters programs for teachers to serve high-need geographic areas and to teach subjects like mathematics and science. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation gives up to $30,000 to teachers in order to obtain their masters in teaching to service specific student populations.
Private Consolidation & Refinancing
If you are wanting to lower your monthly payments in order to make your student loans affordable and continue teaching then a loan consolidation may be your answer. A private loan consolidation or refinance can combine your student loans into a singular student loan and offer better repayment terms. Since you are a teacher you will likely have little issue qualifying. The best option would be to compare multiple rate from credit unions to see who can offer the most attractive terms.
Compare private loan consolidation offers from non-profit credit unions here
It is important to understand that many stipulations are tagged onto some of these grants. Make sure that teaching is really the right career path for you, and that you are ready to fulfill the obligations that many of these grants require. Often, this will require a certain number of years, as well as placement within areas that are specifically targeted for their low-income, low-scores, and therefore high need situations. It is by no means an obligation that is to be taken lightly; the ups and downs of dealing with students that are troublesome, as well as the pressure of having to raise scores by specific quotas. Failure to fulfil the obligations of specific grants may result in withdrawal of funding and perhaps worse, a defaulting of past grants into loans that must be paid off.
Learn more about how to apply - here
A teacher has one of the most important jobs there is to be had. The way they talk, write, and present themselves impacts each child they have in a classroom for their entire life. This does not go overlooked by the government. It is a known fact that school is necessary for a child’s development as well as their social skills. A teacher really has a lot of responsibility and trust lying on their back. Since this job is held to such a high regard the government created programs to help those who become teachers get part or all of their student loans paid off so they don’t have that financial debt hanging over their head. This program is set forth by the government and called the TEACH program. You can apply for the teach program at https://teach-ats.ed.gov/ats/index.action.
How to Qualify for TEACH Program
The biggest stipulation to this program is you must teach full time for five years. It does not specify if this must be at the same school but it must be at a struggling school community. By struggling that means they fall under a certain poverty level, are a title one qualified school, and or provide some type of nonprofit organization or Charter school qualifications. Though the stipulations seem a little complex they really are not. Almost all schools now in the United States manage to fall under some sort of title one program for their area. This program basically included anything from teacher aids in classrooms, free or reduced lunch, and funding for other areas of the school to provide help towards education.
The amount of student loan forgiveness can depend on the type of loans you have what they fall under. It has been said that up to seventeen thousand five hundred dollars of federal teacher student loans can be paid off with the TEACH program. This amount combined with financial aid usually tends to pay off a person’s four years of college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in teaching. This is definitely a way to help an up and coming teacher get on their feet and reduce their debt they may have obtained during their college education.
The Teach program is pretty amazing that our country realizes just how important teaching and education is. We have touched base a lot of the TEACH program for federal student loan forgiveness but this does not even include what individual schools set fourth for teacher forgiveness programs. Many schools are now providing teacher loan forgiveness programs all of their own. These programs many times can be geared towards federal or private student loans. The stipulations usually include a person working there for a certain amount of years and staying in that contract. There are also programs in schools that provide the ability for teachers to go back to school for their masters or doctrine and they actually pay for the education. Programs like this really can save a person from a lifetime of debt. It is important if you are a prospective teacher to not only apply for the TEACH program but also select your school to work at wisely and find out about their student loan forgiveness incentives as well.