With another school year right around the corner, it's a good time for teachers to start looking into their own student loans. Programs designed to encourage teachers to stay in the profession, including those outlined here, may help you reduce or eliminate your student loan debt.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF)
The TLF program applies to Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL). Through this program, qualifying teachers can have up to $17,500 of subsidized or unsubsidized loans forgiven (no PLUS loans). To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
You had no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL on October 1, 1998, or on the date you obtained a Direct Loan or FFEL after October 1, 1998.
You received the loan before the end of your fifth year of qualifying teaching.
You have been teaching full-time at a low-income school or educational service agency for five consecutive years.
You are not in default (unless you have made repayment arrangements with the holder of the loan).
You have not received a benefit for the same teaching service through AmeriCorps or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge (PLCD)
The PLCD program allows qualifying teachers to discharge up to 100 percent of a Federal Perkins Loan. To qualify, you must be a full-time teacher in a school serving students from low-income families, a special education teacher, or a teacher in a specialized field for which there is a shortage of qualified teachers in your state, such as math, science, or foreign languages.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Through the PSLF program, teachers may be able to have the remaining balance of their Direct Loans forgiven. To qualify:
You must make 120 full, on-time monthly payments on your Direct Loans, under a qualifying repayment plan.
You must be working full-time at a qualifying public service organization when you make each of those payments.
State and city-sponsored programs
To find other opportunities for which you may be eligible, search the American Federation of Teachers database of loan forgiveness programs, grants, and awards at www.aft.org/yourwork/tools4teachers/fundingdatabase.
We hope you find these resources helpful in researching loan forgiveness options. If you'd like to discuss strategies for managing student loan debt or other aspects of your financial life, please don't hesitate to contact us.