Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: Check out These Programs!

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: Check out These Programs!

08:15 AM July 05, 2019

 As you read through this guide, you’ll discover the major student loan forgiveness programs for teachers and their respective requirements.  Teachers are the brain box of the country and they deserve all the bonuses they can get. Without their services, most of us won’t be professionals in our different fields of study.

When it comes to teachers debt forgiveness, the big question is…

“what’s in stock for our dear teachers?”


Before we proceed, let’s take a brief look at the essence, structure, and definition of loan forgiveness.

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What is Loan Forgiveness?

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: Check out These Programs!

Loan forgiveness is a form of pardon that aids the repayment of loans. A Borrower who has been pardoned does not need to repay all or even part of the loan balance. This includes the interests of the student loan they have accrued.


Not all loans are forgivable. Most federal student loans, like Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Perkins Loans, can be pardoned.

Each Loan forgiveness program has its own terms and conditions. However, most programs require working in High professional shortage areas, in exchange for a partial or total payment of the debt.

Types of Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers in the US

Basically, there is four loan forgiveness for teachers, namely: PSLF, TLF, PTLF, and state loan forgiveness.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

Student loan forgiveness for teachers

The United States government helps indebted teachers get out of debt by offering full-time teaching service in exchange for loan forgiveness.

PSLF was structured under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) in 2007. The foremost batch of Loan forgiveness was dispensed after October 1, 2017. According to the US Department of Education, 338 borrowers were forgiven of their loans on December 32, 2018. Though public or non-profit teachers are prioritized in these programs, it’s possible to get into the program, but it would take a minimum of 20 years (T&A applies).

Direct loan balances are paid off after you’ve made one hundred and twenty qualifying monthly payments. PSLF is built on the qualifying payment system. This is a system of paying/showing responsibility for your loans by working for a certain period in government accredited HPSA.

Requirements to Sign up for the Program and to Help You Understand This Program:

  • To be eligible for this program you must be working with a governmental organization/qualifying employer (not religious, nonprofit, contract worker or labor unions)
  • You must have a minimum of 30 hours a week duration of work with your teachers qualifying employer.
  • Most teacher student loan programs cover only direct loans. Loans like Perkins loan and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) are not considered direct loans but can be added as direct consolidation loans. When added as Direct consolidated loans, previous payments are not counted as part of your 120  qualifying payments.
  • Though the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan is a qualifying repayment plan for PSLF, you cannot receive PSLF unless you enter an income-driven repayment plan, such as: Pay As You Receive (PAYE), Income Contingent Repayment(ICR), Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAY), or Income Based Repayment (IBR)
  • When you make more payment than required monthly, you should keep it in mind that you can only receive credit for only one payment per month. Making larger payments doesn’t give you a hedge when it comes to PSLF

While applying for the PSLF program, you should keep tabs by submitting your paperwork when due and update any change necessary. This ensures fast funding with no glitches. The only drawback in this loan forgiveness program is that it takes ten (10) years, hence you must be prepared.

Perkins Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: Check out These Programs!

After September 2017, Perkins loan became inaccessible to borrowers, but those who had access to the program are looking for ways to get pardoned. Though Perkins loan is no longer available, Perkins loan cancellation or Perkins teacher loan forgiveness is very much around.

Your eligibility, as a teacher would be determined by the nature of your job and volunteer service adherence. Below is a list of teacher psychiatric who qualify for Perkins teacher loan forgiveness.

Who qualifies for Perkins Teacher Loan Forgiveness.

  • Teaching at a Private School (with non-profit status): Being a private school teacher doesn’t automatically exempt you from Perkins loan cancellation. Some private school has nonprofit status created with the Internal Revenue Service, which compels them to offer elementary and secondary education, under the confines of the State law. If you teach at these kinds of schools, you stand a chance of qualifying for the Perkins loan cancellation program.  
  • Teaching at a Pre-K Program: Teaching in preschools that are included in an elementary education program for the state helps you qualify for Perkins loan forgiveness.
  • Teaching at Low-Income Schools: Title 1 schools aka low-income school staffs are eligible for Perkins Loan forgiveness for teachers. For a school to be tagged Title 1 schools, over 30% of the school’s admitted students must be included in the Title 1 program.
  • For teachers, who are not sure if their school is a low-income school, they could check the US Department of Education’s list on their website. Schools created by the Bureau of Indian Education or Indian reservations by tribal groups in collaboration with BIE are termed low-income schools. If your low-income school is not listed as such in later years, you may still qualify to have portions of your loan canceled for teaching during those years. The institution that has your Perkins Loan may allow you to enact retroactive cancellation if you can prove that you qualified for cancellation during an earlier year. The school may not refund payments made during this retroactive period, though.
  • Teaching Special Education: Special education teachers are eligible for Perkins Loan Cancellation, but you must provide an official letter from the school stating that you’re a full-time special education teacher.

How Many Years Do I Need to Teach to Qualify?

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: Check out These Programs!

For each academic year used in the above-mentioned schools, you Earn more points in the loan cancellation program. An academic year is defined as a full school year or two half-years from various schools. Two-half years are considered as complete and successive, which automatically falls within a year.


  • Candidates must teach in low-income school or non- profit school such as special schools for infants, toddlers, kids with impediments or disabilities.
  • Applicants must be willing to teach in government accredited HPSA
  • Work full time in your school.
  • It is not available to teachers of post-secondary schools.

A typical example of a line up indicating the progressive percentage increase in successive years of the  Perkin’s teacher loan forgiveness program:

  • First Year: Fifteen percent of forgiveness (15%)
  • Second Year: Fifteen percent of forgiveness (15%)
  • Third Year: Twenty percent of forgiveness (20%)
  • Fourth Year: Twenty percent of forgiveness (20%)
  • Fifth Year: Thirty percent forgiveness.   (30%)

One of the advantages of Perkins teacher loan forgiveness is that over time, you’d get percentage forgiveness on your loans. Opting out after a year or two would mean your loan would be forgiven for that period. The only setback with this program is that they are administered by the school where you work or the school’s Perkin loan servicer.

Check if you qualify in two simple steps

  • Step 1 – Select your debt amount below to see if you’re eligible
  • Step 2 –Answer a few quick questions & join hundreds of thousands of Americans on the path to becoming debt free

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

This program existed before the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). The Teacher loan forgiveness program, you can obtain as much as $5000-$17,500 of your Director Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) loans.

Defining the following terms would help us understand the subject matter better:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are for eligible undergraduate students who need financial help to cover college costs.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are for eligible undergraduates, graduates, and professionals. Students do not have to demonstrate financial need.
  • Direct Plus Loans are for graduates or professionals and parents of dependent undergraduate students. It aids education expenses not covered by other financial aid.
  • Direct Consolidation Loans allow you to combine all of your eligible federal student loans into a single loan with a single loan servicer.

According to the Federal Student Aid Office, under Teacher Loan Forgiveness application, “if you have a Direct Consolidation Loan or a Federal Consolidation Loan, you may be eligible for forgiveness of the outstanding portion of the consolidated loan that repaid an eligible Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, or Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan.”

The maximum amount obtainable from this program depends on your duration of work, subject taught and workplace. Ranging between $5000-$17,500 or a combination of $17,500 + $5000 for both programs. This applies if you have loans under the Direct Loan Program and the Federal Family Education Loan program.

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  • Candidates of federal student loan forgiveness for teachers must be willing to teach students with disabilities.
  • Demonstrate knowledge/skills in the content areas of the curriculum you teach.
  • Work as a full-time teacher.
  • Be highly qualified (the least qualification is a BSc or BA in teaching).
  • Five years experience (after the 1997-98 academic year).
  • Work at an elementary school, secondary school or educational service agency serving low-income students.
  • Candidates may not have an outstanding balance on Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Programs as of 10/01/98.

Though the conditions required are strict, this student debt forgiveness is highly beneficial to teachers. It is also important to note that a forgiveness loan, under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs, can be combined but you cannot receive forgiveness for the same work duration.

State-Based Loan Repayment Programs and Other Options

The state government established these to help teachers pay off their debt. To know the program available in your state or city, make inquiries at your state’s educational body/agency for the programs.

Most State government loan programs for the teacher (LPFT) require you to be in public service. The absence of bad records with respects to citizenry conduct gives you a better shot at obtaining such loans.

Other options for obtaining loan forgiveness are not as far fetched. Apparently, all income-based repayment programs have different payment ranges.

  • Income-Based Repayment Plan: Your monthly payments will be 10 or 15 percent of your income and if you’re married. While your spouse’s income or loan debt will be considered when a joint tax return is filed. 
  • Income Contingent Repayment Plan: This plan is a Direct Loan Program for borrowers. Your payments will be lesser of 1. 20 percent of your discretionary income 2. the amount you would pay on a repayment plan with a fixed payment over 12 years that is adjusted to your income.
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan: Your maximum monthly payments will be 10 percent of your discretionary income. Your spouse’s income or loan debt will be considered if you file a joint tax return.  You must have high debt relative to your income.
  • Revised Pay As You Earn: This is for Direct Loan Program borrowers. Monthly payments will be 10 percent of discretionary income. Both parties’ loan debt will be considered if you are married.

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers Conclusion

When applying for student loan programs for teachers, check out the terms and conditions before applying. Also, look into Government loan forgiveness programs for teachers.

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