Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers – Who Is Eligible?

The student loan forgiveness for teachers is most likely one of the best financial programs for students who choose teaching as a career. Such programs make you eligible for the ten-year forgiveness programs and for a principal reduction as well.

In this article, we will explain which are the requirements for teacher loan forgiveness eligibility, what a qualified teacher is, and additional info about the student loan forgiveness programs for teachers.

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: General Requirements

First of all, your federal student loan (Federal Family Education Loan or Direct Loan) has to originate after Oct 1st, 1998. Furthermore, in case you are in default on an unsubsidized or subsidized loan, you need to make satisfactory repayment arrangements with the defaulted loan holder.

Plus, you need five full academic years as a full-time teacher. Also, minimum one of them must have been subsequent to the 1997-1998 school year. In addition to this, you must have made your loans before finishing your five years as a teacher.

It is worth mentioning that any time spent teaching at an eligible education service agency after the 2007-2008 academic year counts to your consecutive five years of teaching. Keep in mind that your five years of teaching for student loan forgiveness for teachers will not count if you spend time teaching to receive benefits from AmeriCorps.

student loan forgiveness for teachers

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers: School Requirements

To become eligible, you must have worked in a secondary and/or elementary school that meets the following requirements:

  • It has to be a title one school which qualifies to receive funds under the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  • The department of education has to determine that all children in that school qualify for title 1 services.
  • The school must be in the Annual Directory list of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits.

Prior To October 30th, 2004

If your five consecutive years of teaching started before October 30th, 2004, you might receive a forgiveness of student loans for teachers up to $5,000. There are two conditions:

  • You were a full-time secondary school teacher and you taught in a subject related to your academic major.
  • You were a full-time elementary school teacher in writing, reading, mathematics, and any other school subjects.

The principal reduction of $17,500 might be the case for you if:

  • You were a highly qualified special education teacher who provided special education to children suffering from disabilities. Also, what you taught these children relied on your area of special education training.
  • Second, you were a highly qualified full-time science or mathematics teacher in an eligible secondary school.

After October 30th, 2004

If your five consecutive years of teaching started after October 30th, 2004, the demands are slightly different.

In case you were a highly qualified full-time secondary or elementary school teacher, loan forgiveness can go up to $5,000.

On the other hand, to receive student loan forgiveness for teachers up to $17,500 you have to meet the same requirements as before October 30th, 2004. In other words, these demands are different only regarding the $5,000 forgiveness option.

What Is a Highly Qualified Teacher?

A highly qualified teacher is a secondary or elementary school teacher who passed the state teaching license examination and got a full state certification to teach in that state. Also, these teachers need a bachelor’s degree. In addition, they must have excellent teaching skills in core areas of elementary education including mathematics, writing, or reading. Plus, you must have never had licensure requirements and certification on a provisional, temporary, and emergency basis.

The Uniform State Standard of Evaluation

All highly qualified teachers have to demonstrate their competence based on the uniform state standard of evaluation. This state standard is always developed in consultation with school administrators, principals, teachers, and primary content specialists.

student loan forgiveness for teachers

Furthermore, it aligns with student academic achievement and challenging state academic content. Plus, the state standard applies for both academic subject matter teaching skills and knowledge. However, there are also some other additional requirements:

  • It must provide coherent and objective info about the attainment of the teacher.
  • The standard has to apply equally to all teachers in the same grade level and the same academic subject throughout the state.
  • Also, it monitors the time the teacher spent teaching in the academic subject.
  • The state standard must be available to the public on request and it can involve several objective teacher competency measures.

Student Loan Forgiveness For Teachers: Programs

There are two student loan forgiveness programs. These programs apply for teachers in low-income schools (Title 1).

They divide into the Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Perkins Loan Forgiveness. For both of them, you need 5 years of teaching.

For instance, a qualified teacher qualifies for a principal reduction between $5,000 and $17,500 on their loans for teachers. In addition to this, they will benefit from full forgiveness after a term of 10 years.

If any balance remains at the end of the term, it would be forgiven. It is worth mentioning that the ten-year debt forgiveness is part of the public service program of loan forgiveness.

For additional information, you can go to the US Department of Education official page.


To sum up, if you are eligible for the student loan forgiveness for teachers and you’ve done your five years as a full-time teacher, then you can benefit from a wide variety of financial options.

Moreover, the student loan forgiveness for teachers is quite generous depending on your qualification. In other words, you can benefit from a lifetime opportunity to deal with your loan debts once and for all.

I hope this guide was helpful to you?

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