For many, getting into debt to pay for it is the most intimidating part of attending college. College debt is always high, adversely impacting the potential of graduates to get ahead of their professional lives for years or even decades. It could be necessary to remove any or all of the student debt for those interested in a career in teaching or education through federal and state loan forgiveness programs.
Two student loan waiver services expressly for teachers are funded by the federal government: the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and teacher loan cancellation. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program concerns people with direct loans and federal Stafford loans subsidized and unsubsidized, while loan cancellation applies exclusively to teachers with federal Perkins loans.
What is a Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?
The Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program’s underlying aim is to support the teaching profession by making it possible for people to become and remain teachers. Under the program, persons who teach full time in designated schools or educational support providers for five straight years will get up to $17,500 in interest forgiven on the types of loans mentioned above. In such subjects, the $17,500 total is reserved for teachers. For debt repayment, all other qualifying teachers are entitled for $5,000.
Who is Considered as a “Highly Qualified” Teacher?
Both public school teachers have to be accredited and approved in their state to be deemed highly qualified. In reading, writing, math, and other related elementary-level material, incoming elementary school teachers need to pass a teaching skills assessment. Meanwhile, incoming middle and high school teachers must pass a state examination on the topic they are teaching and have at least an undergraduate degree on that subject. By either meeting the qualifications of a new teacher or showing excellence in a state examination, veteran teachers can be deemed highly qualified.
Who Qualifies for Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?
One of the first conditions is to work full-time for five total and successive years at a qualified low-income primary school, high school, or educational support provider to apply for student loan forgiveness for teachers. Furthermore, each of these years must have been finished after the school year of 1997-1998. It should also be remembered that teachers from Special Education also apply for the teacher loan forgiveness program as teachers.
Like in all student loan forgiveness plans, before you submit your application, there is a lot of fine print that you may want to consider. Here’s how to know whether you meet the specific criteria for eligibility:
- You have a qualified direct subsidized loan, a direct unsubsidized loan, a state Stafford subsidized loan or an unsubsidized Stafford federal loan.
- You operate with low-income children in a primary school, middle school, or educational support organization.
- As of October 1, 1998, you do not keep an outstanding balance on direct loans or other Federal Family School Loans (FFEL). Furthermore, applicants for teacher loan redemption must not have kept a direct loan or FFEL prior to October 1, 1998. You must first pay off debts repaid by this date in order to apply for forgiveness.
- You must comply with a certified teacher’s credentials, which require at least a bachelor’s degree and complete state teacher certification. Plus, you should not have waived the criteria for registration or licensing on an emergency, temporary or conditional basis.
Remember that you will not be liable for teacher loan forgiveness if you’ve defaulted on a college loan until plans have been made to repay the loan, necessary for the student loan provider’s acceptance.
If you’re a teacher who has not finished a full school calendar year of teaching, the year may ultimately count under the following requirements for the teacher loan waiver program:
- You have completed at least half the academic year of the Qualifying Degree.
- Your school or educational support provider acknowledges that the academic year contract conditions have been finalized, and you are in good standing.
- When you have spent time away from school on at least a half-time basis in a qualified field of education instruction, you can also apply for a teacher loan forgiveness program.
- For a personal or welfare disorder recognized by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, or whether you are a member of the U.S. armed forces or a member of the U.S. military reserve called for service for longer than a 30-day duration, you may even apply for loan forgiveness.
Based on whether you teach and whether or not you are new to the discipline, there are also other criteria. Learn more on the Federal Financial Assistance website about the eligibility requirements.
How to Apply for a Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?
You’ll need to email the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Paperwork to the loan servicer to qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness. For your certification, your school or educational provider would need to vouch for it. If you have several loans from various servicers, you’ll need to complete an application on each one.
You should verify your qualifications with the PSLF Support Tool and the Job Verification Form Process before filing for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. These two act as references to guarantee that you’re on the right route. Instead of assuming if you’ve made adequate deposits or working for the right employer, these tools will prove that you’re getting it right.
You can submit your completed PSLF and employer credential by mail or fax to the U.S. Department of Education when you’re finished.
What happens after I submit My Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application?
Your lender has 60 days to review the paperwork for Teacher Loan Repayment and return it to your loan guarantor. The guarantor then has 45 days for the claim to be accepted or rejected.
You can request and complete an application for all of them if you have more than one loan servicer. You’ll find the details in section 3 of your subsequent applications following your first submission.