The Different Options for Teacher Loan Forgiveness

teacher loan forgiveness

Teachers have one of the most underrated, thankless jobs out there.

Teachers are often underpaid. They may find themselves looking into teacher loan forgiveness for their student loans.

It may be a bitter pill to swallow. What happens if you don’t make enough to pay your skyrocketing student loan payments? Finding help with repayment or forgiveness can be tedious, complicated, and tricky.

For starters, you have to fit into a very specific set of criteria for most repayment plans. Luckily, teachers tend to have it better off than the general population.

This works very well if they work in lower income areas.

Are you a teacher who’s curious if you qualify for teacher loan forgiveness? Ready to kiss those frustrating student loans goodbye? Read on to find out about some of the best teacher loan forgiveness programs at your disposal.

Teacher loan forgiveness for Perkins Loans

If you’ve been teaching at a low-income school for over one year full-time, you may qualify for teacher loan forgiveness for your Perkins Loans.

Naturally, you need to actually have Perkins Loans to qualify. Additionally, this form of loan forgiveness is only available to teachers who teach in certain subjects.

You might qualify if you teach special education, math, science, a foreign language, or bilingual education. If you teach an understaffed subject, that’s another qualification.

Teachers may be eligible for Perkins Loan forgiveness after a full year of teaching. Your loans won’t be completely forgiven until 5 years. After the first year, 15% of the loan will be canceled.

This increases year by year until your entire loan has been forgiven.

Do you think your subject helps you qualify for this loan? Are you unsure if your school qualifies as low income? Check out this list for help.

Teacher loan forgiveness

Have you worked more than 5 consecutive years as a teacher? If those years are consecutive and complete, look into teacher loan forgiveness.

If you have loans originating before October of 1998, you won’t qualify for this form of teacher loan forgiveness.

Additionally, make sure you have no loans in default. If you do, you will need to consolidate your loans into direct loans. This will allow you to still qualify for this form of forgiveness.

The amount of debt that can be forgiven varies depending on what level of school you teach. Also, the subject you teach is taken into account.

If you’re a full-time elementary school teacher or secondary school teacher, you can have up to $5,000 forgiven. This also qualifies if you teach a subject related to your college major.

This may not seem like much to those who went through school backed entirely by loans. Still, every little bit helps.

Are you a highly qualified teacher who teaches math or science at a secondary school? If so, you may be able to receive up to $17,500 in debt forgiveness.

What does “highly qualified” mean? In this case, you need to prove your qualifications by passing a state licensing exam for teachers. You can also prove it by obtaining a full state certification.

Public service loan forgiveness

Public service loan forgiveness is an option for teacher loan forgiveness. If you meet the qualifications of working in particular public sectors, investigate this option.

To qualify, you must also have made 120 payments on your student loans. That means you need to pay them consistently for 10 years. Additionally, just like the option above, you must be in good standing which is generally much easier to maintain since the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program can be coupled with an income-sensitive program.

There’s good news regarding this form of loan forgiveness: it’s not just for teachers!

While teachers can qualify, this is also available to government employees and those who work at non-profit organizations, provided they meet the minimum requirement of 30 hours per week.

This is a long-term relief option, and it does pay 100% of your remaining Direct Loan balance after 10 years. It’s recommended that you take advantage of this plan (if you qualify) by combining it with other repayment plans, such as an income-based repayment plan.

City and state loan forgiveness programs

Depending on your¬†state and city, you may be eligible for teacher loan forgiveness programs through them. While they won’t necessarily clear your debt away completely, they’re definitely a valid option for teachers looking to reduce their financial strain.

Be forewarned that not every¬†state and city offers loan forgiveness programs. However, if you’re feeling tight in the financial department, or stressing about your student loans, they’re absolutely worth looking into.

For instance, Arkansas has a program which forgives up to $3,000 to help you repay your federal student loans. This includes the caveat of teaching in areas with a critical shortage of teachers or teaching an in-demand subject.

Iowa offers teachers up to $6,858 in student loan forgiveness. Maine offers a somewhat unique program in that borrowers (teachers, speech pathologists, and child care providers) are eligible to have one year of their loans forgiven every year they’re employed in their field.

Additionally, if you work in Maine as one of the aforementioned professionals, you may be able to double your forgiveness if your area is understaffed or underserved.

Finally, Texas offers a loan repayment program designed as an incentive for teachers in low-income, understaffed areas. If you qualify, you may be able to receive up to $2,500 toward your federal student loans.


While student loans may be frustrating and intimidating, the simple fact is that they aren’t going away anytime soon, particularly with tuition costs rising. It seems like student loans are just an unfortunate part of life.

If you’re struggling to repay your student loans, it may seem pretty bleak out there. It can be difficult to find help repaying your student loans, causing many borrowers to default or put off paying what they owe their lenders.

However, teachers do have slightly more options than the general public, allowing them to take advantage of programs to let them relieve the financial strain!

If you think you may qualify for one of these forms of loan forgiveness, what are you waiting for? If you hesitate, you’re just racking up more in interest and delaying the inevitable.

Go ahead and contact your loan provider to discuss whether or not you qualify for one of these forgiveness programs. If you need additional help, you can also contact us.