How To Qualify
You must be a qualifying full-time teacher for 5 consecutive years at an eligible low-income school or eligible education service agency in an eligible subject. Make sure your school qualifies before filling out the entire application.
There are two time frames that are important to note when considering Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) and your qualified teaching service.
For borrowers who began teaching before October 30, 2004, you may be eligible for up to:
- $5,000 of forgiveness if you are a full-time elementary school teacher and demonstrate knowledge in reading, writing, mathematics, and other areas of the elementary school curriculum.
- $5,000 of forgiveness if you are a full-time secondary school teacher in a subject area relevant to your major.
- $17,500 of forgiveness if you are a full-time highly qualified mathematics or science teacher in a qualifying secondary school.
- $17,500 of forgiveness if you are a full-time highly qualified special education teacher.
For borrowers who began teaching after October 30, 2004, you may be eligible for up to:
- $5,000 of forgiveness if you are a highly qualified, full-time elementary or secondary school teacher.
- $17,500 of forgiveness if you are a highly qualified, full-time special education, mathematics, or science teacher at an eligible secondary school.
What You'll Need
Proof of employment and subject taught, as well as the dates when your loans were disbursed.
You must have started borrowing after October 1, 1998. That means that, on October 1, 1998, you had a zero-dollar balance in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) or Direct Loan program (DL), or a zero balance on the date you obtained a FFELP or DL loan after October 1, 1998.
Stafford loans in DL and FFELP are eligible for this program as long as you borrowed them before you completed your 5 consecutive years of service. Other kinds of loans have other forgiveness options, and there are some other forgiveness programs out there for teachers. We've compiled them here.
Where To Send This Form
Submit this form to your servicer (the company that sends you bills). If you're not sure who that is, you can look it up on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®).
Perkins loans have more generous teacher loan forgiveness rules—up to 100% of your loan can be forgiven. Check with your loan servicer for details.
If you'll qualify for an amount that completely forgives your loan balance, you may apply for a Teacher Loan Forgiveness forbearance. This will let you stop making payments during your 5 years of qualified service. You'll need to apply for this forbearance with your loan holder annually.
In addition to the federal loan benefit, teachers in different states and in different schools may have access to additional loan assistance. To learn more about these options, check out our eBook The Education Degree Answer Key.
Also, your teaching service may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), but your employment can only qualify for one of the forgiveness periods at a time. For example, if you were to apply for TLF after 5 years of teaching, you could then apply for PSLF after another 10 years of teaching (or 15 years total).
You may also want to consider if applying for PSLF after 10 years instead of TLF after 5 years would benefit you more.