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A Comprehensive Guide to Teacher Loan Forgiveness: Teacher loan forgiveness and cancellation

Teacher Loan forgiveness and cancellation

Teacher loan forgiveness and cancellation

Navigating student loans can be challenging, but the Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) program provides a valuable opportunity for educators to alleviate their financial burden. Understanding the eligibility criteria and application process can help teachers take full advantage of this beneficial program. Here's what you need to know:

Understanding TLF Eligibility

  1. Qualifications for Teachers:

  • Teaching Requirement: Full-time teaching for five complete and consecutive academic years at a low-income school or educational service agency, with at least one year post-1997-98.

  • Loan Type: Loans eligible for forgiveness must have been issued before the end of the five-year teaching period.

  • Highly Qualified: Teachers must meet "highly qualified" requirements (details below).

  1. Definition of ‘Teacher’

  • Direct Teaching: Individuals providing direct classroom instruction or classroom-like teaching.

  • Special Education: Special education teachers who work directly with students.

  1. Highly Qualified Teacher Requirements

  • Basic: Bachelor’s degree, full state certification, and no waivers (emergency, temporary, provisional).

  • Elementary School (New): Pass a rigorous state test covering the core elementary school curriculum.

  • Middle/Secondary School (New): High competency in each academic subject taught, proven via:

  • State academic subject tests, or

  • Academic major, graduate degree, or equivalent coursework.

  1. Completing Less than a Full Year

  • Even if a full academic year is not completed, partial years may count if:

  • At least half the year is completed.

  • The school recognizes the service as fulfilling contract requirements.

  • The year was not completed due to:

  • Postsecondary education,

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave,

  • Active duty (30+ days) in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Financial Benefits

  • Forgiveness Amount:

  • Up to $17,500 for highly qualified mathematics, science, or special education teachers.

  • Up to $5,000 for other highly qualified full-time elementary or secondary teachers.

Other Key Considerations

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF):

  • TLF and PSLF can both be pursued, but not simultaneously. Five years of TLF-qualified teaching cannot count towards PSLF’s 120 payments.

  • Loan Types Not Covered:

  • PLUS Loans: Not eligible.

  • Federal Perkins Loans: Not eligible but have a separate cancellation program.

  • Default Status:

  • If in default, satisfactory repayment arrangements must be made before applying.

Application Process

  1. Complete the Application: Submit after fulfilling five consecutive qualifying teaching years.

  2. Certification: The school's chief administrative officer must complete the certification.

  3. Multiple Loan Servicers: Submit separate forms for each loan servicer if applicable.

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