If you’re looking into student loan forgiveness for teachers, you should know there are four main options. The ones you’re eligible for will depend on the types of student loans you have and where you are working as a teacher.
In general, student loan forgiveness for teachers is possible if you have federal student loans and you taught in an approved educational institution. Here is a closer look into your options.
1. Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
You can get between $5,000 and $17,500 of student loan forgiveness with the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. You may be eligible for this program if you have the following kinds of student loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
In addition, you must meet these eligibility requirements to apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program:
- Have been teaching full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years
- Taught lessons in a low-income school or educational service agency
Note: Any time that you spent teaching for AmeriCorps benefits does not count toward these requirements.
2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
You may apply for the PSLF Program even if you have not taught in a low-income area as a public-school teacher. This student loan forgiveness program has broad employment qualification requirements that include most workers in the public sector.
However, this program only forgives Direct Loans. Consider getting a Direct Consolidation Loan to combine your FFEL and Perkins Loans into a new single policy. This way, your student loans can qualify you for the PSLF Program.
Qualifying for this program requires that you make at least 120 valid payments on your Direct Loans through an income-driven repayment plan. Although they don’t have to be consecutive payments, you must have made them after October 2007, and they also must not be paid more than 15 days after the due date.
3. Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation for Teachers
Perkins Loan Cancellation allows you to cancel up to 100% of your federal Perkins student loans. To qualify, you must be a full-time teacher at a low-income school. See the U.S. Department of Education’s online database to confirm whether your school classifies as low-income.
Another qualification requirement for this option is the subject you teach. You can confirm with your state’s education agency whether it determined that your specialty is a qualifying subject. It usually bases qualifying subjects on the shortage of qualified teachers who teach that subject.
You can only get this student loan forgiveness option if you have existing Perkins loans because there were no new Perkins loans created after September 30th, 2017. This program will cancel your student loans incrementally over five years.
4. State-Sponsored Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
The American Federation of Teachers has a searchable database where you can confirm whether your state offers local student loan forgiveness programs. States usually offer such programs to full-time teachers working in high-need areas.
Conclusion: Can Teachers Get Student Loan Forgiveness?
In conclusion, yes, you can apply for four different student loan forgiveness programs as a teacher. Eligibility requirements usually depend on the kinds of loans you have and where you taught. Be sure to confirm whether your student loans are federal and that you have been teaching in an approved institution.