PSLF vs. TLFP

Jessica Martinsen

Two of the most popular loan forgiveness programs for teachers are the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program and the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (TLFP). Teachers should definitely take advantage of at least one of these programs (or both), but the key is choosing ahead of time which program is right for you. Both programs have specific requirements involving a number of years in repayment, so deciding early will save you a lot of time and money.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program:

The PSLF Program is a student loan forgiveness program for full-time public service employees that have Federally-Backed Direct Loans. Borrowers must be enrolled in an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan and make 120 qualifying payments. If these requirements are met, the remaining student loan balance will be completely forgiven.

Is this program right for you?

If you are a public school teacher and owe more than $30,000 in student loans, PSLF is probably best for you. On this program you can cap your required monthly payments in proportion to your monthly income. After 120 qualifying payments (10 years), you can be eligible for complete student loan forgiveness. On the other hand, 10 years of on-time monthly payments is a long time. 

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program:

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (TLFP), is a program for full-time teachers who have completed five consecutive academic years at a low-income school. Depending on the subject taught, eligible borrowers may have $5,000 or $17,500 of their loans forgiven.

Is this program right for you?

  • If you owe $30,000 or less and are a highly-qualified mathematics or science teacher at the secondary level, or a special education teacher at any K-12 level, the TLFP might be better as you would qualify for $17,500 of forgiveness. If you do not teach mathematics, science, or special education, you could still have $5,000 forgiven if you taught at a low-income school.

Take Advantage of Both Programs:

It is possible to take advantage of both programs, but you can’t use the same time period to qualify for them. If you decide to pursue the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program first, you will need to complete the required five years of repayment and then you will need to spend another 10 years repaying toward the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Rest assured, most people do not choose to pursue both forgiveness programs, it’s normally one or the other.

Don’t Wait!

Get started toward your choice of forgiveness program today! The quiz below will help you determine which program is best for you. Through our Forgiveness Tool, we can help you apply if you qualify.

Through Chipper, you can also round-up each purchase you make toward your student loans, make extra one-time or recurring payments, and get family and friends involved who wish to help you toward financial freedom.