Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers
Updated On February 12, 2022
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If you’re looking for student loan forgiveness for teachers, there are several options. From public service loan forgiveness to Teacher Loan Forgiveness, this guide will help you navigate the best options for you.
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Here’s how to get student loan forgiveness for teachers:
- Public service loan forgiveness
- Teacher loan forgiveness
- Income-driven repayment plans
- Perkins Loan Cancellation
- Student loan forgiveness for teachers: state programs
- Student loan refinancing
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you want to get student loan forgiveness for teachers, then the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is a smart option. Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in 2007 to help public servants get student loan forgiveness.
To qualify for public service loan forgiveness, teachers will need to work full-time for an eligible public service or non-profit employer while making 120 monthly federal student loan payments.
Learn more: Public Service Loan Forgiveness Guide
Teachers need to meet certain requirements in addition to making 120 monthly student loan payments. For example, you will need to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan. You must make at least a majority of your federal student loan payments while enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan such as IBR, PAYE, REPAYE or ICR. Once you meet the requirements for public service loan forgiveness, your remaining federal student loan balance will be forgiven.
This public service loan forgiveness calculator shows our new monthly student loan payment and how much student loan forgiveness you can get when you enroll in public service loan forgiveness. This public service loan forgiveness calculator also can help you decide which student loan repayment plan helps you get the most student loan forgiveness.
How to apply: To get public service loan forgiveness, contact your student loan servicer or visit the U.S. Department of Education website.
Teacher loan forgiveness
One of the best ways to get student loan forgiveness is through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program.
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program can provide up to $17,500 of federal student loan forgiveness.
To qualify, you must be employed full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years at an elementary school, secondary school or educational service agency that serves low-income students.
In comparison, public service loan forgiveness provides more student loan forgiveness for teachers than the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. While teacher loan forgiveness provides up to $17,500 of student loan forgiveness, public service loan forgiveness grants full federal student loan cancellation on your remaining student loan balance.
How to apply: Submit an application for Teacher Loan Forgiveness to your student loan servicer.
Income-driven repayment plan
Income-driven repayment plan are a helpful option to get student loan forgiveness for teachers.
An income-driven repayment plan sets your monthly federal student loan payment based on your discretionary income and family size. Through an income-driven repayment plan, you pay a portion of your discretionary income, such as 10-20%, each month as your federal student loan payment. Make sure to update your income and family size each year because it can impact the amount of your student loan payments.
There are four income-driven repayment plans:
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
- Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
- Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)
Teachers can also get student loan forgiveness for their federal student loans through an income-driven repayment plan as follows:
- Undergraduate student loans: after 20 years of monthly student loan payments
- Graduate student loans: after 25 years of monthly student loan payments
How to apply: To apply for an income-driven repayment plan, contact your student loan servicer.
Perkins Loan Cancellation
Perkins Loan Cancellation is another way to get student loan forgiveness for teachers. Perkins Loans were federal student loans for student loan borrowers in financial need that were disbursed as part of a federal program that ended in 2018.
If you have Perkins Loans, you can get student loan cancellation for your Perkins Loan over five years.
While working full-time as a teacher, you can also defer making student loan payments on your Perkins Loans. This means that you won’t have to make payments on your Perkins Loans during the deferment period and potentially can get more student loan forgiveness.
How to apply: Apply for Perkins Loans cancellation directly through your school.
Student loan forgiveness for teachers: state programs
Most student loan forgiveness for teachers is through federal programs, meaning they are offered through the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Education. Teachers can also explore options for student loan forgiveness through state governments.
Some states may offer student loan forgiveness for teachers if you commit to work in an under-served area, for example, for a specified period of time.
How to apply: You can check with your state to determine if there are opportunities to get student loan forgiveness for teachers.
Student loan refinancing
If you don’t qualify for student loan forgiveness for teachers, you could consider an alternative option such as student loan refinancing.
Student loan refinancing is the process of combining your current student loans into a new private student loan with a lower rate. The goal of student loan refinancing is to save money by getting a lower interest rate, a lower monthly payment or both. Student loan refinancing is not student loan forgiveness, however.
Learn more: Student Loan Refinancing Guide
Teachers can qualify for student loan refinancing with a minimum 650 credit score, steady monthly income and a low debt-to-income ratio. You can choose a fixed interest rate or variable interest rate as well as a student loan repayment term between 5 and 20 years. Lenders want to ensure that you have enough monthly cash flow to pay for living expenses and debt payments.
If you think you may not qualify for student loan refinancing, you can apply with a qualified cosigner such as a spouse or parent who has strong credit and stable monthly income. A cosigner assumes equal financial responsibility for your student loans, but a cosigner also can help you get approved for student loan refinancing and get a lower interest rate.
This student loan refinancing calculator shows you how much money you can save when you refinance student loans.
For example, let’s assume that you have $70,000 of student loans from teaching school at a 7% interest rate and a 10-year repayment term. Let’s assume you refinance student loans at a 3% interest rate and a 10-year repayment term. You would save $137 each month and $16,420 overall on your teaching student loans.
How to apply: Compare the latest rates for student loan refinancing and apply with each lender.
Here are some helpful resources for student loan refinancing: