Teachers Loan Forgiveness
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
If you have a Direct Consolidation Loan or a Federal Consolidation Loan, you may be eligible for forgiveness of the outstanding portion of the consolidation loan that repaid an eligible Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, or Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan.
What are the eligibility requirements?
You must not have had an outstanding balance on Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans as of Oct. 1, 1998, or on the date that you obtained a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan after Oct. 1, 1998.
You must have been employed as a full-time, highly qualified teacher for five complete and consecutive academic years, and at least one of those years must have been after the 1997–98 academic year.
You must have been employed at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves low-income students (a “low-income school or educational service agency”).
The loan(s) for which you are seeking forgiveness must have been made before the end of your five academic years of qualifying teaching service.
Teaching for Less Than a Complete Academic Year
If you were unable to complete a full academic year of teaching, that year may still be counted toward the required five complete and consecutive academic years if
you completed at least one-half of the academic year; and
your employer considers you to have fulfilled your contract requirements for the academic year for the purposes of salary increases, tenure, and retirement; and
you were unable to complete the academic year because
you returned to postsecondary education, on at least a half-time basis, in an area of study directly related to the performance of the teaching service described above;
you had a condition covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA); or
you were called or ordered to active duty status for more than 30 days as a member of a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces.
Who is considered a teacher?
A teacher is a person who provides direct classroom teaching, or classroom-type teaching in a nonclassroom setting. Special education teachers are considered teachers.
Am I a highly qualified teacher?
There are basic requirements that all teachers must meet to be considered highly qualified. There are also additional requirements that you must meet depending on whether you’re an elementary or secondary school teacher, and whether you’re new to the teaching profession.
Basic Requirements for All Teachers to be a highly qualified teacher, you must have
- attained at least a bachelor’s degree;
- received full state certification as a teacher; and
- not had certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis.
- You’re considered to have received full state certification even if you received your certification through alternative routes to certification or by passing the state teacher licensing examination.
- If you’re a teacher at a public charter school, you are considered to have received full state certification as a teacher if you meet the requirements set forth in the state’s public charter school law.
How much loan forgiveness can I receive
The maximum forgiveness amount is either $17,500 or $5,000, depending on the subject area taught. If you have eligible loans under both the Direct Loan Program and the FFEL Program, $17,500 or $5,000 is a combined maximum forgiveness amount for both programs.
You may receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness if you werea highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher who taught students at the secondary school level; or
a highly qualified special education teacher (at either the elementary or secondary level) whose primary responsibility was to provide special education to children with disabilities, and you taught children with disabilities that corresponded to your area of special education training and demonstrated knowledge and teaching skills in the content areas of the curriculum that you taught.
If you didn’t teach mathematics, science, or special education, you may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness if you were a highly qualified full-time elementary or secondary education teacher.
You can potentially receive forgiveness under both the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, but not for the same period of teaching service.
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