Your Guide to Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers – 2024

By Teach Educator

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Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers

Loan forgiveness programs for teachers are designed to alleviate the burden of student loan debt for those who choose to dedicate their careers to the field of education. Here’s a guide to some of the most common loan forgiveness programs available to teachers in the United States:

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program

  • Eligibility: Employed full-time by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization.
  • Requirements: Make 120 qualifying payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
  • Loan Types Covered: Federal Direct Loans.
  • Forgiveness Amount: The remaining balance after 120 qualifying payments.

2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

  • Eligibility: Teachers who have taught full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school or educational service agency.
  • Requirements: Must not have had an outstanding balance on Direct Loans or FFEL Program loans as of October 1, 1998, or on the date that you obtained a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan after October 1, 1998.
  • Loan Types Covered: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.
  • Forgiveness Amount: Up to $17,500 for certain subjects and up to $5,000 for others.

3. Perkins Loan Cancellation for Teachers

  • Eligibility: Teachers who have served full-time in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school system.
  • Requirements: Varies based on the type of teaching service. Includes special education teachers, teachers in fields designated as teacher shortage areas, and teachers in low-income schools.
  • Loan Types Covered: Federal Perkins Loans.
  • Forgiveness Amount: Up to 100% for five years of service.

4. State-Specific Programs

  • Eligibility & Requirements: Varies by state. Many states have their own loan forgiveness programs for teachers, especially those willing to work in high-need areas or specific subjects.
  • Loan Types Covered: Varies.
  • Forgiveness Amount: Varies.

5. Income-Driven Repayment Plan Forgiveness

  • Eligibility: Available to borrowers with federal student loans.
  • Requirements: Payments are based on your income, family size, and total amount borrowed. The remaining balance is forgiven after 20-25 years of qualifying payments.
  • Loan Types Covered: Most federal loans.
  • Forgiveness Amount: Remaining balance after 20-25 years of qualifying payments.

Steps to Apply:

  • Determine Eligibility: Review the requirements of each program to see which one(s) you qualify for.
  • Gather Documentation: Typically includes proof of employment, loan information, and evidence of qualifying payments.
  • Complete Application: Each program has its application process. Visit the official website of the program for specific instructions.
  • Submit Application: Submit your application to the appropriate agency or loan servicer.
  • Follow-up: Stay in contact with your loan servicer to ensure your application is processed and to check on the status.

Key Tips:

  • Keep Records: Maintain detailed records of your employment history, loan payments, and correspondence with loan servicers.
  • Stay Informed: Loan forgiveness policies can change. Stay updated on any changes that may affect your eligibility.
  • Consider Timing: Some programs have specific time frames or deadlines for applying.


  • Official websites for federal programs like
  • State education agency websites for state-specific programs.

It’s important to note that the specifics of these programs can change, so it’s advisable to consult the most current information available from the Department of Education or the relevant loan servicer.

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