Why Teachers Aren't Qualifying for Forgiveness

Jessica Martinsen

Knowing that you’re making a direct impact in the lives of your students is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher. A career in education enables you to shape the next generation of leaders, doctors, engineers, executives, web developers, and so much more. One of your students may even be a future president of the United States!

Unfortunately, teaching is an underpaid profession in the U.S. Most teachers rack up thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for their degree and many struggle to repay.

The ever-growing cost of a college education, demand for more advanced teaching degrees, unlimited loan access, increasing interest rates, and a national average public school teacher starting salary (2016-2017) of $38,617, leave many teachers feeling like they can’t get ahead.

The good news is that public service professionals (that includes teachers) can have their student loans forgiven. Yes—completely paid off, thanks to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Many teachers actually qualify for two forgiveness programs, PSLF and the Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) program. The TLF program forgives $5,000 to $17,500 for certain teachers!

How can a teacher qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program?

First, you must work as a public service professional. A teacher, professor, an equivalent educator, or principal all qualify. Second, you must work as a qualifying public service professional for at least 10 years, completing 120 total payments toward your student loans. Additionally, you must be on an income driven repayment plan AND you must have federal direct loans. 

If you received your student loans before 2010, you might have what are called FFEL Loans that do not qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness; however, you can consolidate your loans into a qualifying direct loan. If you’re not sure if you have FFEL Loans and/or direct loans, you can check using our Discover Tool.

In summary, to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness as a teacher you must:

  1. Be a teacher, professor, an equivalent educator, or a principal
  2. Have made 120 repayments (10 years of at least one monthly repayment)
  3. Have a federal direct loan
  4. Be on an income-driven repayment plan
 
You will NOT qualify if you have:
 
  • – Defaulted on your loans (unless you have made satisfactory repayment arrangements with the holder of the defaulted loans)
  • – FFEL Loans or in-direct loans
  •  

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is a program available to full-time teachers who have completed five consecutive academic years at a Title school. Eligible teachers may have $17,500 forgiven off of their student loans if they are a highly-qualified mathematics or science teacher at the secondary level, or a special education teacher at any K-12 level, and $5,000 forgiven for teaching any other subject. 

Some teachers should take advantage of this option while others might want to ride out the 10-year repayment plan toward total forgiveness. Read more about the which program is best for you on our PSLF vs. TLFP blogor take our Teacher Loan Forgiveness or PSLF quiz. 

Get Help For FREE with Chipper

Does this all sound confusing? Don’t worry, we are here to help you discover if you qualify for student loan forgiveness. And if you don’t meet all of the requirements to qualify, we can help you figure out which income-driven repayment plan is right for you and/or consolidate your loans!

We will help you…

  • – Discover if you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and/or the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program (and which program is best for you)
  • – Find and enroll in the right income-driven repayment plan for you
  • – Consolidate your loans into one direct loan (if needed)
  • – File your plan and program application (and yearly recertification)


Through Chipper you can also set recurring or one-time payments in addition to your monthly repayment, use automatic Round-Ups to maximize each purchase you make, and get family and friends involved who wish to help you on your path to financial freedom.

Click below to get started. We’re excited to help you on your journey toward living a life that is free of student loan debt. 🦾