Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: Things You Should Know

As an educator struggling with debt, student loan forgiveness for teachers may sound like a great idea. But not everyone will qualify for this debt-relief program. However, If you’re struggling with student loan debt as a teacher, this post is for you.

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers Review

You have several options to get teacher loan forgiveness, even though only one program has a name specifically referring to teachers.

Having your student loan debt wiped out seems like a good thing. However, the government did not create all of these programs equally.

Each forgiveness program has different qualifications and guidelines.

The right program for you depends largely on your total amount of debt, current and future employment, and future life goals.

Certain tax implications could even affect whether a forgiveness option is right for you. Is teacher loan forgiveness even the best option to handle your student loan debt?

Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers

Here are the best Loan forgiveness programs that teachers should take advantage of.

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is designed to deliver student loan forgiveness for people working in public service careers, including teachers.

The minimum qualification conditions for this program include:

  • Working full-time for a government agency or specific nonprofits
  • Holding direct loans or a direct consolidation loan
  • Being enlisted in an income-driven repayment plan
  • Delivering 120 qualifying payments

Sounds simple enough, meanwhile, there are some caveats for teachers.

For one thing, this loan forgiveness program doesn’t extend to teachers functioning for private, for-profit schools. 

And for another, few borrowers have yet to fulfill the conditions for loan forgiveness since applications were open in 2017. 

To review your eligibility, search for your employer by its employer identification number, found on your W2.

2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is another program open to teachers who took out federal loans.

To be qualified for this program, an individual must:

  • Teach full-time for five consecutive and complete academic years at a school
  • Owe subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans Stafford loans
  • Be a highly qualified teacher holding a bachelor’s degree and full state certification

This program presents loan forgiveness for up to $17,500 in eligible loan balances.

The actual loan amount you can have forgiven hinges on which subject areas you teach in.

Full-time math and science teachers at the secondary level, for instance, can receive up to the $17,500 maximum.

In that respect, it’s less generous than the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which doesn’t cap the amount of student debt that can be dismissed.

Technically, you could apply for forgiveness via the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

If you’re interested in this program, you’ll desire to research whether your school qualifies using the DOE’s Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory.


3. Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers

If you took out loans from the now-defunct Perkins loan program to fund your schooling, you may be eligible to get 100% of those loans canceled.

There are a few caveats, nevertheless.

To qualify, you have to work full-time in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary academy system as:

  • A teacher serving students from low-income families
  • A special education teacher
  • A math or science teacher
  • A teacher specializing in foreign languages, or any other underserved discipline

Loans can be canceled for teachers employed by private schools as long as the academy has a nonprofit status with the IRS and provides elementary or secondary education.

4. TEACH Grant

The TEACH Grant isn’t loan forgiveness per se, but it is another opportunity to consider as a teacher seeking loan help.

This grant is created for students who are still working toward a teaching degree, either as undergraduate or graduate students.

The program delivers up to $4,000 per year in grant funding.

However, as a condition of receiving the funds, you must agree to teach in a high-need field in a school that serves low-income students for at least four complete academic years.

If you fail to meet these necessities, grant funding becomes a loan that must be repaid.

5. State-Run Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers

Another way to obtain forgiveness for federal student loans is to look at what your state government offers.

The state of Illinois, for instance, offers up to $5,000 in loan repayment assistance for educators in work in low-income schools.

6. Federal Loan Repayment Assistance

To assist student loan borrowers, the Biden administration introduced a new income-driven repayment option called the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan.

This scheme sets monthly student loan payments at 5% to 10% of your discretionary income, while also improving the income exemption from 150% to 225% of the poverty line.

In effect, this means a single borrower earning lower than $32,805 per year would have a monthly student loan payment of $0. 

In addition, balances won’t rise due to unpaid interest, and married borrowers who file separately no longer will be required to include their spouse’s income for IDR payments.

Like other IDR alternatives, the remaining balance of your student loan is forgiven after 20 to 25 years of payments.

However, if you borrowed less than $12,000, your loan will be forgiven after completing 120 payments, or 10 years.

For every $1,000 borrowed above that amount, 12 payments are included, up to a maximum of 20 or 25 years before the remainder of your loan is pardoned.


Comparing Teacher Loan Forgiveness vs. PSLF

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers

Any teacher who has had to take out student loans would love an easy way to wipe out that debt and create more financial freedom.

Not only would it remove giant stress in your life, but also free up money for other life goals like buying a home, starting a family, and saving for retirement.

The problem with federal teacher loan forgiveness for many teachers is the strict requirements you must meet to be awarded the full $17,500 in loan forgiveness.

While the alternative $5,000 option is helpful, if you have over $25,000 in student loan debt, you are still left with a hefty amount to pay off.

Another potential issue is not picking the right program and sabotaging your chances for more funds.

Technically, you can receive loan forgiveness through Teacher Loan Forgiveness as well as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, but there is a catch.

Again, whether these options exist and whether you qualify will rely on your choice of lender.

This then adds five more years of payments if you want to pursue both programs.

In conclusion, there are several ways for you to get student loan help.

You can even seek student loan forgiveness, but it’s important to read the fine print on these various programs to make sure you qualify.

Student loan forgiveness for teachers is a real deal. Teachers have more opportunities for student loan forgiveness than pretty much any other profession.

If you’re a teacher, you ought to be taking advantage of these programs to get out of student loan debt.

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