Through the Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness Program, qualified applicants may be eligible to qualify for up to $17,500 to be used towards repaying their student loans. 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. Read on to see eligibility requirements, award amounts, and the application process for the Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
- 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.
How much can I expect to be awarded?
Through the Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness Program, applicants may qualify for a maximum of $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.
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 were
- a 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.
What loans qualify for this program?
- Stafford loans
- Consolidation loans
- Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans
Note: Loans made before October 1, 1998, do not qualify.
How do I apply for this repayment program?
You apply for teacher loan forgiveness by submitting a completed Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application to your loan servicer after you have completed the required five consecutive years of qualifying teaching.
The chief administrative officer of the school or educational service agency where you performed your qualifying teaching service must complete the certification section. If you are applying for forgiveness of loans that are with different loan servicers, you must submit a separate form to each of them.