If you’re a teacher looking for public service loan forgiveness, we have good news for you. According to the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, you might be eligible for forgiveness for as much as $17,500. This may apply to Unsubsidized and Direct Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans.
What are the Requirements for Eligibility?
As of Oct. 1, 1998, you must not have an outstanding balance on Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Direct Loans. Furthermore, you must be employed as a highly qualified teacher on a full-time basis for five consecutive years, at an educational service agency or a low-income school. One of these years will need to have taken place after the 1997–98 academic year.
You will also need to have been employed at an educational service agency, secondary school, or elementary school that serves low-income students. Finally, the loans which you need forgiveness from will need to be made before your five academic years of teaching ends.
What Happens if You Taught Less than a Whole Academic Year?
If you weren’t able to finish an entire academic year of teaching, that year could still be counted towards the required five consecutive and complete academic years, provided that:
- You finished at least a half of that academic year
- Your employer agrees that you’ve fulfilled the contract requirements for that academic year
- You couldn’t finish the academic year because:
- You came back to postsecondary education at least on a half-time basis in the area of study related to the teaching service described above
- You were called to active duty for over 30 days as a member of the U.S. armed forces’ reserve component
- You had a condition that is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
How Much Forgiveness Can I Get?
Depending on your subject of expertise, the maximum amount of forgiveness is either $5,000 or $17,000. If you have an eligible loan under both the FFEL Program and the Direct Loan Program, you may have a maximum forgiveness amount which combines $17,500 or $5,000 for both programs. You can also get as much as $17,500 in loan forgiveness if you are:
- A special education teacher that’s highly qualified and has taught at either a secondary or elementary school level. Furthermore, your primary responsibility was to provide education for kids with disabilities, or you taught children with disabilities which correspond to your area of special education. You demonstrated your teaching skills and knowledge in the curriculum you taught.
- A highly qualified and full-time science or mathematics teacher who teach students at a secondary level
- If you didn’t teach science, mathematics, or special education, you could receive as much as $5,000 in loan forgiveness. However, you first need to be a highly qualified full-time secondary or elementary education teacher.
Check if You Qualify for Loan Forgiveness Today
By following the guidelines above, you should be able to qualify for public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) provided that you’re a highly qualified teacher. In order to make sure you qualify for forgiveness, sign up for Chipper today and see your forgiveness options!