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 program. This is not to be confused with the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program which does not completely pay off student loans.
First, you must work as a public service professional as a teacher, professor, or an equivalent educator for at least 10 years. You will need to complete 120 total payments toward your student loans. Additionally, you must be on an income driven repayment plan AND you must have 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 also check using our Forgiveness Tool.
In summary, to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness as a teacher you must:
If you took advantage of the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, meaning you taught for five years at a qualifying school, while making income-driven monthly payments, and the government forgave $5,000 or $17,500 (for certain teachers); your Public Service Loan Forgiveness program eligibility resets. The 10 year track you were on to complete student loan forgiveness gets another 10 years tacked on, totaling up to 15 years.
But the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program isn’t all bad. Some teachers should take advantage of this option while others might want to ride out the 10-year repayment plan to total forgiveness. Read more about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program here or take our Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness? quiz find out which forgiveness program is best for you.
Does this all sound confusing? Don’t worry, we are here to help you discover if you qualify for complete student loan forgiveness. And if you don’t meet all of the requirements to qualify for forgiveness, we can help you figure out which repayment plan is right for you and your financial goals.
We will help you…
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 here to get started or download Chipper in the App Store. We’re excited to help you on your journey toward living a life that is free of student loan debt. 🦾