TEACHER STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS
Formulated by the Higher Education Amendments, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is an advantageous feat as teachers are eligible for principal reduction of $5,000 to $17,500 on their loans and full forgiveness after a 10 year term. It amended the Higher Education Act of 1965, which originally makes teachers obligated to pay the full amount of principal and interest owed to a loan pursuant. Any remaining balance after 10 years would be completely absolved. This loan pardon is part of the public service loan forgiveness program that permits qualified teachers to obtain benefits.
The following is a list of the most common questions and issues encountered in applications of the Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
How to be eligible?
All requirements for an application that must be met are listed below. Incomplete applications because of the lack of requirements will be returned to you for corrections or resubmission of a new application.
• You must not have an outstanding balance on Federal Student Loans (Direct Loan or FFEL program loan) on October 1, 1998. Your loan should be originated after the said date.
• If you have a pending subsidized or unsubsidized loan, you cannot be granted forgiveness unless you have made satisfactory repayment arrangements with the holder of the loan.
• You must have completed five consecutive academic years as a classroom teacher as certified in by a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). A part of your service must have been after the 1997-1998 academic year. The application cannot be processed if it is submitted before the completion of your five-year service.
• Yet loans in which you are seeking forgiveness must have been made before finishing your five-year term as a teacher.
• You must indicate the exact month, day, and year of the beginning and ending dates of your teaching service.
• The time you spent teaching through AmeriCorps is not counted in your required five years of teaching.
• The time you spent in an eligible education service agency after the current academic year can be applied to your five-year teaching service.
• If you taught at more than one school, a separate application for each school will be needed.
• You must have been employed in an elementary or secondary school that:
Has been on the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits (Title I list) that qualifies for funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965;
Has a total enrollment made up of children who qualify for services under Title 1 as determined by the department of education;
Note: Although they are not listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits, all elementary and secondary schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) or Indian tribal groups under contract with BIE will be eligible as schools serving low-income students.
On the other hand, if you are not eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, you may be eligible for other forgiveness programs. You may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. This option allows you to be qualified for the forgiveness of the remaining balance after you have made satisfactory repayments for your federal student loan. It can be completed while employed full time by certain public service employers.
Who can be eligible for the Obama Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?
The teacher should be providing direct classroom teaching, or classroom-type teaching in a non-classroom setting to be qualified for the forgiveness. Special Education teachers who completed the five-year teaching service are also considered eligible by the loan regulations.
What happens if my five-year teaching term began before October 30, 2004?
You may be granted up to $5,000 of payment reduction if you were:
A regular elementary school teacher in reading, writing, mathematics, or other areas of the school education program;
A regular secondary school teacher teaching a subject related to your academic major;
You may be granted up to $17,500 of payment reduction if you were:
A highly qualified regular mathematics or science teacher in an eligible secondary school;
A highly qualified special education teacher who delivers special education to children with disabilities corresponding to your area of special education training.
What happens if my five-year teaching term began on or after October 30, 2004?
The following will apply if your five years of service began on or after October 30,2004:
• You may be granted up to $5,000 of payment reduction if you were a highly qualified full-time elementary or secondary school teacher;
• You may be granted up to $17,500 of payment reduction if you were;
• A highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher in an eligible secondary school;
• A highly qualified special education teacher who delivers special education to children with disabilities corresponding to your area of special education training.
What if I am unable to complete an academic year?
If you were unable to finish an academic year, that year may still count in your five consecutive years of teaching service if half of that academic year was completed. It is also possible if your employer considers you to have completed your contract requirements.
Am I a highly qualified teacher under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?
What if you are unable to complete an academic year because you returned to college in an area related to your teaching position, you had a condition covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), or you into active duty in the Armed Forces for more than 30 days? You can still become a highly qualified teacher given the following terms:
• You have obtained a bachelor’s degree.
• You have obtained full state certification as a teacher.
• You have passed a state teaching license examination.
• You currently hold a license to teach.
• You should not have certification requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis.
If you are a new elementary teacher, you can be qualified if you exhibit satisfactory teaching skills by passing any state tests, or having subject knowledge on basic areas of elementary education.
If you are a secondary school teacher who is new to the profession, you can be qualified given the following terms:
You have performed high level of competence in each academic subject you teach;
You have shown to have satisfactory teaching skills by passing any state tests, or having subject knowledge on basic areas of secondary education.
If you are not new to the profession, you can become highly qualified if:
You meet the standards of an elementary or secondary school teacher who is not new to the profession;
You display skills and competence in all the academic subjects you teach based on a high objective uniform standard of evaluation set by the state for both academic subject matter knowledge and teaching skills. The evaluation standards should also be aligned to the state academic content and student academic achievement standards as programmed in cooperation with curriculum specialists and teaching personnel.
• You should deliver objective information about the attainment of core content knowledge in the academic subjects in which you teach.
• You passed the evaluation standards set consistently to all teachers in the same academic subject and grade level throughout the state.
How will I know if the school at which I teach a low-income school?
The U.S. Department of Education releases a list of certified low-income elementary and secondary schools annually. However, the questions, issues, and details about the inclusion or omission of a particular school must be appealed to the education agency contact in the state where the school is located.