Student loan forgiveness for teachers: Do you qualify?

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When you graduated from college and landed your first teaching job, you likely pictured yourself in a rewarding career helping to shape the lives of future generations. So while you probably didn’t see yourself rolling in the dough with a teaching job, you might not have realized how hard it would be to deal with your student loan debt.

The good news is that the federal government offers student loan forgiveness and cancellation options for teachers who qualify. It may come as no surprise that researching and applying for these government programs can be a bit cumbersome, but don’t let that discourage you. These programs can help you eliminate high monthly payments and thousands of dollars of debt.

To help simplify the process, we’ve summarized your options below including an easier way to submit an application. Keep in mind that these options apply to federal student loans only and not private loan debt.

Student loan forgiveness for teachers 

With this option you can receive benefits faster than the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program mentioned below, but the amount is predetermined and may not be as generous as the PSLF benefit.

The Lowdown:

– You must have been employed full-time as a teacher for 5 consecutive school years.
– The loan must have been taken out before the end of 5 years of teaching service.
– You must work for a school district that is eligible for Title 1 funds or has been designated as a qualifying low-income school.
– You must be current on your student loan payments and not in default.

What You Can Get:

– Up to $5,000 in eligible loans can be forgiven for qualified elementary and secondary schoolteachers.
– Up to $17,500 in eligible loans can be forgiven for qualified math, science or special education teachers at eligible secondary schools.

Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation

The Lowdown:

– You must teach full time for at least a full school year (five years for full benefit).
– You must teach in an elementary or secondary school whose students are from low income families, or
– Teach special education or teach a subject such as mathematic or science that is considered to have a shortage of teachers in your state.

What You Can Get:

– Up to 100% of your Federal Perkins Loans can be cancelled if you qualify.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

This program can be helpful for teachers who have a significant amount of debt.

The Lowdown:

– You must work for a qualifying organization including a government organization or a non-profit for at least 10 years.
– You also qualify if you were employed in AmeriCorp or the Peace Corp.
– You must have made 120 on-time payments towards your loan to qualify, although the payments don’t have to be consecutive so you can have periods of deferment or other employment.

What You Get:

– 100% of your remaining federal student loans can be forgiven after you’ve made those 120 qualified payments.
The amount forgiven is tax-free at the federal level!

These programs provide a huge perk for teaching professionals. Not all graduates saddled with debt have these options. It’s definitely worth looking into to see if you qualify.

The qualifying periods for these forgiveness plans can’t overlap with each other. So you need to consider not only how quickly each plan gives you forgiveness, but in what order you should apply for them.

There are other eligibility requirements, and while the government list of requirements is lengthy, TrustRight Student Loan Services makes the process simple. You can use the online Personal Loan Evaluation tool to quickly view your options and eligibility and even submit an application directly to a federal student loan forgiveness program using our simplified and automated application process.

Don’t let student loan debt weigh you down. Take action today to see how much you can save!