The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program (TLF) is a form of student loan forgiveness that is separate from the Direct Loan or Obama Student Loan Forgiveness program. This program awards educators with a principal reduction of their federal loans. It was designed to encourage students to enter the education field and to incentivize teachers to continue teaching.
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is one of the most beneficial student loan forgiveness options. For one, qualifying teachers receive a tax-exempt principal reduction of either $5,000 or $17,500 on their federal loans. This drops their overall loan balance, making monthly loan payments smaller and thus more manageable. For some teachers, this eliminates their federal student loan balance altogether. The second perk of the teacher loan forgiveness program is that it allows teachers to remain eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Under this program, their remaining federal loan balance would be forgiven after 10 years of on-time payments. This means teachers get a principal reduction after five years and then complete forgiveness after an additional 10 years. Compared to the standard forgiveness term of 20 to 25 years, this is a great option.
First and foremost, qualified applicants must have worked as a teacher for five consecutive years. One of these years must be after the 1997-98 academic year. This program defines a teacher as anyone who teaches directly in a classroom or does classroom-type teaching outside of the classroom. These teachers must work at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves low-income students. Special education teachers qualify too. Teachers must also meet eligibility criteria that deem them “highly qualified.” To start, highly qualified teachers must have:
Along with meeting the above criteria, teachers must prove their subject knowledge and teaching skills. Elementary school teachers must pass a rigorous state test on basic elementary school curriculum like writing, math, and reading. Middle and secondary teachers must pass a state academic subject test or earn a certification or degree in the subjects they teach. Not only does the teacher have to qualify, but their federal loans must qualify too. First, the loans you want to be forgiven must have been taken out before you finish your five years of consecutive teaching service. Second, you can only seek forgiveness for the following loan types:
Unlike other student loan forgiveness programs, you apply for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program after completing your five consecutive years of service and not before. So if you have already worked five qualifying years, you could apply and receive teacher loan forgiveness today. Contact us now to get started