Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
The Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is one of three loan forgiveness programs available to teachers. Under the program, a teacher who has taught full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meets other qualifications, may be eligible for forgiveness on certain Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, as well as Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.
Teacher Eligibility Requirements
Under the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, a teacher who has taught full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meets other qualifications, may be eligible for forgiveness on certain Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, as well as Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.
A teacher may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness if, as certified by the designated chief administrative officer of the school where the teacher is employed, the teacher meets the following criteria:
- Is a highly qualified full-time elementary school teacher who demonstrated knowledge and teaching skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and other areas of the elementary school curriculum; or
- Is a highly qualified full-time secondary school teacher who taught in a subject area that was relevant to the teacher’s academic major.
A teacher may receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness if, as certified by the designated chief administrative officer of the school where the teacher is employed, the teacher meets the following criteria:
- Is a highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher for secondary school students; or
- Is a highly qualified full-time special education teacher for elementary school and secondary school children with disabilities.
Note: The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program application defines a secondary school as a public or nonprofit private school that provides secondary education as determined by state law, and an elementary school as a public or nonprofit private school that provides elementary education as determined by state law.
While Virginia law does not specifically define a secondary school, the Virginia Administrative Code (8VAC20-160-10) defines “secondary course” as a high school-level course of study that awards high school credits. Furthermore, the Virginia Administrative Code (8VAC20-131-90(C)) allows school divisions to offer Level I Algebra courses in eighth grade for credit towards a high school diploma. Other courses offered in middle school also may be awarded high school credits. Courses in middle school that qualify for credit towards a high school diploma may become part of the student’s secondary school transcript as defined in 8VAC20-160-10.
Below is information about several teacher loan forgiveness and teacher loan cancellation programs:
- Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program – If the teacher has a loan from the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program, he or she might be eligible for loan cancellation for full-time teaching at a low-income school, or for teaching in certain subject areas. Also, it is possible to qualify for deferment for the qualifying teaching services. The college/university that prepared the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation request may provide more detailed information on this program.
- Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program – Under this program, if the teacher teaches full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications, the teacher may be eligible for forgiveness.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program – The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans after making 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
- TEACH Grant – The TEACH Grant is a loan forgiveness program for students who plan to become teachers in certain fields and for teachers who are seeking a graduate degree.
The steps and recommendations below may assist the teacher in completing the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program process:
- Read the Eligibility Requirements for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
- If eligible, complete an application by following the link to the application process.
- The designated chief administrative officer must sign the application. The designated chief administrative officer is the current superintendent, principal, assistant principal, human resources personnel or director, or other equivalent at the division in which the teacher was employed.
- The school name must be printed exactly as it appears in the TCLI directory.
- The application should be mailed to the entity repaying loan or guarantor. Photocopies may be retained as personal records.
Information About Loan Service Agencies
Because each federal student loan has specific requirements, it is important to become familiar with the type of loan received before visiting websites or talking to loan service representatives. The financial aid office of the university/college attended or the loan guarantor that holds the loan can provide information about the type of loan received.
To locate the guarantor:
- Call the lender; or
- Look up information using the National Student Loan Data System. A Federal Student Aid PIN is required. PINs may be acquired or retrieved at the Federal Student Aid PIN website.
The guarantor makes a determination of eligibility. If the teacher qualifies for loan forgiveness, a notification of the approval will be sent, and the loan holder will receive payment for the qualified forgiveness amount. If the teacher does not qualify for loan forgiveness, the guarantor notifies the teacher of the denial with an explanation.
Eligible schools must be located in a division that qualified for federal Title I funds during the year in which the loan forgiveness is sought. The teacher must have taught in a “low-income school.” A school is considered a “low-income school” if 30.1 percent or more of the school’s enrollment is eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. To be eligible for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, the school must be on the eligible schools list.
To locate the school:
- Click on the eligible schools list in the TCLI Directory
- Select Virginia
- Select the school year and enter the school’s name
To review a list of all schools eligible for loan-forgiveness under the “Download TCLI Directory” section of the Web page:
- Select “Virginia” and the appropriate school year
- Click on preferred download method
The loan and loan forgiveness processes are completed by the teacher and the financial institution that holds loan. The Virginia Department of Education does not directly participate in these processes.
Private School Certification for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Certified private schools are placed on the annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits, a federal list of schools. Certain teachers currently repaying a Perkins Loan or a Stafford Loan may be eligible for loan forgiveness through the Federal Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers.
The criteria for determining private school eligibility for certification are:
- The school must be registered as a nonprofit private school with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). The Department will check the Private School Eligibility Application form against records;
- The private school must be nonprofit. A copy of IRS correspondence determining the school's nonprofit status must be submitted with the Private School Eligibility Application form;
- The school’s grade spans must include elementary and/or secondary (K-12) grades. Schools with Pre-K only programs or classes are not currently eligible for certification; and
- The school must determine that 30.1 percent or more of their students are considered low income in relation to the total membership (K-12) of the school.
Once the school’s eligibility has been determined and the school meets the above criteria, the Nonprofit Private School Eligibility Application (Word) forms should be submitted to request certification.
A separate form is required for each school. A new application must be submitted each school year.
The Virginia Department of Education will notify the requestor of the private school’s eligibility status upon completion of the application review.
SUBMIT ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION TO:
Virginia Department of Education
Office of Program Administration and Accountability
P. O. Box 2120
Richmond, VA 23218
State Contact Information
Dr. Christopher Kelly