How This Special-Ed Teacher Received Student Loan Forgiveness



The Story of Allie, a special-ed teacher from Chicago

Allie S. is a special education teacher and social media influencer from Chicago, Illinois. She has been teaching elementary special education for over 10 years. Her Instagram (@_missbehavior) is dedicated to enriching the lives of other educators with resources and “day-in-the-life” videos of her journey as a special education professional. Allie had also been sharing her student loan debt journey with her followers. Who, just like her, seemed bogged down by debt after achieving their advanced degrees. 

In 2020, Allie’s student loan debt balance was $17,137.

Allie was denied student loan forgiveness three times!

Allie had applied for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) Program, a federal student loan forgiveness program only available to Title 1 school teachers who have taught for at least five consecutive years. Student loan forgiveness amounts for this program are either $5,000 or $17,500 depending on the subject and grade level taught. 

As a special education teacher at a Title 1 school, Allie qualified for $17,500 in loan forgiveness. However, she had been denied three times for her grad school loans! The justifications behind her denials were unknown to her. 

"I taught at a school that closed and had a few other funky situations that made the [student loan forgiveness] process complicated. I was seriously done thinking I could get my loans forgiven until I started chatting with Jessica from Chipper."

How Chipper was able to help

Allie’s most recent denial letter listed reasons 5 and 16 as causes for her denial.

5. You have not met the five-year teaching qualification. (You may be eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Forbearance. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Education’s website at

16. A period of qualified teaching service begins on the earliest of your service years when the school appeared in the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory. Based on the year(s) when your school appeared in the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory, your period of qualified teaching service is less than five years. 

Between 2011 and 2017, Allie had been employed full-time (and consecutively) at four different schools that were considered Title 1, but she only worked at one of the four schools for two months. However, teaching for less than a complete academic year may still be counted toward the required five complete and consecutive academic years. 

Additionally, the last of the four schools was not found in the Federal Student Aid website’s TCLI school directory. But Allie was certain this school qualified as Title 1 because most of the students were wards of the state and actually lived at the school residentially. We made sure this school’s name was spelled exactly as it is listed on the IRS website

"So many teachers have multiple student loans, and are required to have an advanced degree to move up the pay scale, but they have been denied TLF for things like dashes instead of slashes in the date. It’s all sooooo overwhelming!"

Since Allie had four different schools for the employment dates of 2011-2017, she needed four individual Teacher Loan Forgiveness applications signed by her and an official at each school who could verify her employment.

⁣Chipper was able to track down signatures of past HR administrators for Allie's TLF applications electronically, (we even got a signature from an official at the school that had closed), which meant no manual paperwork for Allie or the signing school officials.

Once all four applications were signed, a member of our support team reviewed each and every application carefully. We made sure all the i's were dotted, and the t's were crossed! We then submitted Allie’s Teacher Loan Forgiveness applications to her loan servicer, Navient. 

Fast forward three months, and Allie was finally approved for Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF)!!!

“They [Chipper] helped me sort out all of the tedious paperwork and fill in the gaps. It was SO easy, unlike my other experiences - and I am now *free* from my student loans! I recommend [Chipper] to literally any teacher or school professional with student loan debt. They are so helpful and clearly they know what they’re doing! So grateful to know these loans are one less thing to think about!"

We are so happy for Allie and ecstatic she was able to share her Chipper experience with other teachers who are struggling with student loans. Have you been denied student loan forgiveness before? Were you able to reapply and get approved? 

If you’re struggling, you’re not alone! Today, about 45 million Americans are burdened with a collective $1.8 trillion in student loan debt, and over 12 million of them don’t even know that they’re eligible for forgiveness! Since 2018, Chipper has helped more than 70,000 student loan borrowers lower their monthly payments or receive student loan forgiveness! Chipper can help you too. 

Our mission is to make expert student loan guidance more accessible to all student loan borrowers, regardless of their employer, credit score, or income. We’d love to help you get started on your journey to becoming (student loan) debt free!

Don't worry.
Be Chipper.
Get Started