The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is arguably the most beneficial of all the forgiveness options, as teachers are eligible for principal reduction and early ten year forgiveness. An eligible teacher can qualify for principal reduction of $5,000 to $17,500 on their loans, along with full forgiveness after a 10 year term. Any remaining balance at the end of the 10 years would be completely forgiven.
Your Federal Student Loans (Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan) must have originated after Oct 1, 1998.
If you are in default on a subsidized or unsubsidized loan, you are not eligible for forgiveness of that loan, unless you have made satisfactory repayment arrangements with the holder of the defaulted loan.
- By consolidating your loans we can get you out of default to make sure you receive the forgiveness you deserve.
- Loans in which you are seeking forgiveness or principal reduction must have been made prior to finishing your five years as a teacher.
- Any time you spent teaching to receive benefits through AmeriCorps cannot be counted toward your required five years of teaching for Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
- You must have completed 5 full academic years as a full time teacher, and at least one of those years must have been after the 1997-1998 academic year.
- You must have been employed in an elementary or secondary school that is a title 1 school, that qualifies for funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and has been determined by the department of education that the schools total enrollment is made up of children who qualify for services under title 1 and is listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits.
Note: All elementary and secondary schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)—or operated on Indian reservations by Indian tribal groups under contract with BIE—qualify as schools serving low-income students. These schools are qualifying schools for purposes of this loan forgiveness program, even if they are not listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits.
- If you were teaching at an eligible education service agency after the 2007-2008 academic year, that can be applied to your consecutive five years of teaching.
- If you school is eligible under the above conditions for one year but not the rest, they may still be counted to your five consecutive years of teaching.
Who is considered a Teacher in the Obama Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?
- A teacher is a person who provides direct classroom teaching, or classroom-type teaching in a non-classroom setting.
- Special Education teachers are considered teachers.
How long must I teach?
- You must be a teacher for five full and consecutive academic years after the 1997-1998 academic year to qualify for principal reduction in the Teacher loan forgiveness program.
- Service Completed Before Oct 30. 2004
If your 5 consecutive years of teaching began before Oct 30, 2004 then:
- You may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness if you were:
- A full time elementary school teacher in mathematics, reading or writing, or other aspects of the school’s curriculumA full-time secondary school teacher, teaching in a subject that was related to your academic major
You may receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness if you were:
- A highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher in an eligible secondary school; or
- A highly qualified special education teacher 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 have demonstrated knowledge and teaching skills in the content areas of the curriculum that you taught:
- Service Beginning on or after October 30, 2004
If your 5 consecutive years of teaching began after Oct 30, 2004 then:
- You may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness if you were a highly qualified full-time elementary or secondary school teacher.
- You may receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness if, as certified by the chief administrative officer of the school where you were employed, you were a highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher in an eligible secondary school; or a highly qualified special education teacher 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 have demonstrated knowledge and teaching skills in the content areas of the curriculum that you taught.
Unable to Complete an Academic Year?
If you were unable to complete an academic year, that year may still count towards your Teacher Loan Forgiveness five consecutive years if:
- Half of the academic year was completed
- Your employer considers you having fulfilled your contract requirements for the purposes of salary increase, and tenure and retirement
If you were Unable to Complete the Academic Year Because:
- You returned to college, on at least half time credits, in an area that is directly related to your teaching position and, or to better your performance in said position
- You had a condition covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA);
- You were called into active duty in the Armed Forces for more than 30 days.
Am I a highly qualified teacher under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?
To be a highly qualified teacher, a public elementary or secondary school teacher, you must have obtained full state certification as a teacher; or:
- Passed your state teaching license examination
- Hold a license to teach in the state you are licensed to teach
- Have not had certification or license requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis
In addition to the above…
You may be qualified as an Elementary school teacher, who is new to the profession, if you:Have at least a bachelor’s degree
- Have demonstrated adequate teaching skills by passing any state tests, or having subject knowledge of reading, writing, mathematics and other basic areas of elementary education.A middle or secondary school teacher who is new to the profession is highly qualified if the teacher:
Holds at least a bachelor’s degreeHas demonstrated a high level of competence in each of the academic subjects in which the teacher teaches
- Have proven to have adequate teaching skills by passing any state tests, or having subject knowledge of reading, writing, mathematics and other basic areas of elementary education
An elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher who is not new to the profession is highly qualified if the teacher:
- Holds at least a Bachelor’s Degree
- Meets the applicable standards of an elementary, middle, or secondary school teacher who is new to the profession; or
- Demonstrates competence in all the academic subjects in which the teacher teaches based on a high objective uniform state standard of evaluation that;
- Is set by the state for both grade-appropriate academic subject matter knowledge and teaching skills;
- Is aligned with challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards and developed in consultation with core content specialists, teachers, principals, and school administrators;
- Provides objective, coherent information about the teacher’s attainment of core content knowledge in the academic subjects in which a teacher teaches;
- Is applied uniformly to all teachers in the same academic subject and the same grade level throughout the state;
- Takes into consideration, but is not based primarily on the time the teacher has been teaching in the academic subject;
- Is made available to the public upon request; and may involve multiple, objective measures of teacher competency.
Is the school at which I teach a low-income school?
- Each year, the U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of low-income elementary and secondary schools. Questions about the inclusion or omission of a particular school must be directed to the state education agency contact in the state where the school is located. For 2014-2015, see if your school is listed by clicking this link. (must open in a new browser)
What if I teach at an educational service agency?
- If you teach at an educational service agency, your teaching service may qualify if the consecutive five-year period includes qualifying service at an eligible education service agency performed after the 2007–08 academic year.