If you earn a teaching degree, you may wonder how to pay back those student loans. In some instances, student loan forgiveness for teachers may be available. Several existing programs will pay back a portion of student loans for teachers who meet certain eligibility requirements and have specific types of loans (usually, federally administered loans). If you’re a teacher who has taken out student loans or an education student who plans to do so, read on to learn more about loan forgiveness programs for teachers.
Federal Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers
This program is available for teachers who have taken out Federal Stafford or Direct Loans for their education, whether these loans are subsidized or unsubsidized. To qualify, you must teach for at least five consecutive years in a designated school district that serves low-income families. Mathematics, science, and special education teachers may be eligible for up to $17,500 toward student loans, while teachers of other subjects can receive up to $5,000.
Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation
If you have a Federal Perkins loan, you may be eligible to have part or all of your loan balance canceled under certain circumstances. Eligible teachers must serve full-time for at least one year in either a school supporting low-income families as a special education teacher or in any subject area in a state that has a state determination of a shortage in this specific area.
TEACH Grant Program
This Congressional program provides grants of up to $4,000 for tuition for students who pledge to teach at schools that support low-income families upon graduation. To learn more about this program, contact your college or university financial aid office which administers this program directly.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
With this program, teachers can have the balance of their federal Direct Loan debt discharged after 10 consecutive years of service in the public school system. To qualify, you must have made 120 consecutive payments on your Direct Loan.
American Federation of Teachers Loan Forgiveness Database
In addition to these federal programs, the national American Federation of Teachers union maintains a database of smaller loan forgiveness programs. This database is searchable by funding type, grade level, position, district type, subject area and state.
If you already teach and have federal student loans or other types of loans, you may qualify for one of these loan forgiveness programs. If you are considering a career as a teacher and are interested in loan forgiveness, the first step is to take out federal loans rather than private loans so that you are eligible for these programs later. You should also consider majoring in a subject area that is in demand in your state, or committing to teaching in a low-income district. These are the key eligibility requirements for most loan forgiveness for teachers.