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Teacher Loan Forgiveness Basics

June 02, 2020

Teacher loan forgiveness is often overlooked. Many teachers don't know about this forgiveness option even when they're already eligible for it and have fulfilled all the requirements. Many times after speaking with teachers, we've simply submitted the application for forgiveness and they've received it! There's a great chance that someone that reads this article will be eligible for teacher loan forgiveness. Since this program isn't spoken about a lot, I wanted to go over the basics so that you can have a better understanding of how this forgiveness option works. 

Main Eligibility Requirements

  • Must have been a full time, highly qualified teacher, and served a consecutive five years at an eligible low income school. (low income directory link below)
  • No outstanding balance on FFEL or Direct loans on Oct 1st, 1998 or on the date you obtained a Direct or FFEL loan after Oct 1st 1998. 
  • Must have made the loans prior to the end of your 5 years of qualified teaching.
  • Plus and Perkins loans aren't eligible! 
  • One of your five years must have been after the 1997-1998 academic year.

Forgiveness Amounts

  • $5,000 or $17,500 depending on your subject area. 

Common Reasons for Rejection

  • Errors on loan servicer's side
  • Using the incorrect form
  • Not properly certifying work history
  • Breaks in employment
  • Accidentally switching to a non low income school

Hold Your Horses! 

While this might be a quick way to reduce some of your student loan debt, it might not be the best option for you. You need to keep in mind that if you have a higher loan balance, public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) might be more appropriate for you. If you try and do both programs, you will have the unpleasant surprise of finding out that you just potentially forfeited 5 years of qualified payments towards PSLF! You can't double dip the programs at the same time. Instead of saving, this could end up costing you thousands of dollars if it turns out PSLF is a better option. 

We Can Help

While I just went over the very basics of this program, there's a lot more that needs to be analyzed to make sure this is the correct option for you. As a Certified Student Loan Professional, I can design a student loan plan for you to help make sure you're on the correct track to becoming student loan debt free! 

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