Beginners trying to establish their career in the teaching field usually don’t experience very high salaries. If you’re one of these professionals, you’ve probably pursued the career because you love working with children and you enjoy teaching others. You may, however, experience some financial difficulties until you build your reputation.
Many teachers are looking for student loan forgiveness opportunities in an attempt to get their finances together. Such options do exist and here’s all the information about the conditions and the qualification requirements.
Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
The program is created primarily to encourage young individuals to pursue a teaching career. Depending on the career choices that young teachers make, they could have up to 17,500 dollars of their student loan forgiven.
Most teachers are capable of fulfilling all of the program’s requirements and having at least 5,000 dollars of their student loan forgiven. This is especially true for highly qualified young professionals and teachers that pursue specialization in the scientific fields or math.
Highly qualified special-ed teachers will also experience some preferences and lucrative opportunities for decreasing the amount that they owe.
Qualification Requirements for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Individuals that apply for the federal teacher loan forgiveness program need to have five consecutive years of practicing the profession (as a full-time teacher) in a qualifying school. Their federal student loan should have originated after October 1, 1998.
Qualifying schools have to be located in a district that qualifies for Title I funding. In addition, the school needs to have at least 30 percent of its enrollment qualified for Title I services.
If the school corresponds to these requirements in just some of the five years, you’ll probably still be eligible for the federal program.
To get started with the process, you’ll need to fill out and submit and application. The application is available for download through the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website.
Who Is Considered a Highly Qualified Teacher?
As already mentioned, professionals considered to be a highly qualified teacher may opt for the maximum amount under the federal teacher loan forgiveness program. Several criteria are used to determine the qualification of a professional in the educational field.
A public elementary or secondary school teacher needs to have obtained full state certification or passed the state teaching license examination. In addition to this primary requirement, candidates should also have a bachelor’s degree and they should be capable of demonstrating their knowledge by passing different kinds of state exams.
Middle or secondary school highly qualified teachers will also need to have demonstrated exceptional competence in each relevant academic subject and they should also have exceptional teaching skills (once again, demonstrated via testing and certification programs).
Additional Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers Possibilities
Apart from the federal program, teachers may choose among several other loan forgiveness options.
The Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is open to all professionals. It was implemented in 2007 to encourage young graduates to pursue public service jobs.
The PSLF has rather strict requirements, which is why the federal teacher loan forgiveness program is considered a much more attractive option. In order to benefit from the PSLF program, you need to have made at least 120 qualifying payments, you need to make the repayments under an eligible plan and you also have to be employed by a qualifying public service institution.
The Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program is the third option that young teachers and education professionals can benefit from. Nearly 100 percent of the Perkins loan can be forgiven and the applicants need to have just one year of experience working as a full-time teacher. According to the terms of the program, up to 15 percent of the loan can be forgiven during the first two years. The amount increases to 20 percent for the third and fourth years.
To benefit from the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program, teachers need to be employed by a school that works with low-income families or they have to be special education teachers. The teachers employed by a non-profit private school can also qualify for the program.
Finally, loan forgiveness program can be provided on a state by state basis. The Iowa Department of Education, for example, has a possibility for teachers employed in one of the state’s schools teacher shortage areas. Student loan forgiveness may also be available for high credential teachers but the local requirements and possibilities will have to be explored individually. A lot of information about such state programs can be obtained effortlessly online. You’ll need to visit the website of your state’s department of education to find out more.