How to Fill Out a Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application

Updated on October 24, 2023
At a Glance: To qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, you must teach full-time for five years (three for certain subjects) at schools serving low-income students and have loans from before completing this period. Apply through your loan servicer, complete the form, and await approval. Other options include Public Service Loan Forgiveness and state-specific programs.

Are you a teacher looking to get your student loans forgiven? Well, you’re in luck because the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program might be just what you need. But before you can enjoy the freedom of your loans being wiped away, you’ll need to fill out an application. Let’s find out how you can do that by following this step-by-step guide.

Who Is eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?

To qualify, you must have been a full-time teacher for five complete and consecutive academic years at a qualifying school. Those who teach math, science, or special education require just three years of teaching experience. Remember, only teachers who have taken out loans before the end of their five-year teaching period are eligible.

To be considered a full-time teacher, you must have worked at least 30 hours per week in a school or educational service agency that serves low-income students. This means that part-time teachers or those who work in schools that do not primarily serve low-income students may not be eligible for this program. Furthermore, the qualifying school where you have taught must be listed in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits. This directory is published by the U.S. Department of Education and includes schools that have a high percentage of students from low-income families.

It’s important to note that the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is only available for loans that were taken out before the end of your five-year teaching period. If you took out loans after completing your five years of teaching, they will not be eligible for forgiveness under this program. So, if you meet these criteria, congrats! It’s time to move on to the next step. But if you don’t meet all the requirements, don’t worry. There are other loan forgiveness programs and options available for teachers. So, it’s worth exploring those alternatives to see if you qualify for any of them.

How to Fill Out the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application

Now, you can start filling out the application itself. Still, before we dive into the nitty-gritty of the application, let’s take a moment to understand this process. Teacher Loan Forgiveness is a program designed to reward educators for their dedication and service to the community. By completing this application, you are taking a step towards financial freedom and recognition for your hard work.

Step No. 1: Contact your student loan servicer

Before you jump into the application, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your student loan servicer. They can provide you with the appropriate forms and give guidance specific to your loan situation. Plus, it’s always good to have a friendly voice on the other end of the line when dealing with paperwork.

When you reach out to your student loan servicer, take the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. They are there to assist you and ensure that you have all the necessary information to complete the application accurately.

Step No. 2: Read the application thoroughly

Take the time to read through each section of the application carefully. This will help you understand what information is required and how to best present it.

As you read through the application, you may come across certain terms or requirements that are unfamiliar to you. Don’t hesitate to do some additional research or seek clarification from your loan servicer. It’s better to be well-informed than to make mistakes that could potentially delay the loan forgiveness process.

Step No. 3: Fill out the sections labeled ‘to be completed by the borrower’

Begin by filling out all the sections labeled ‘to be completed by the borrower.’ Make sure to provide accurate and up-to-date information. And don’t forget to double-check your spelling – the last thing you want is a loan forgiveness application with embarrassing typos!

When you’re filling out the application, take your time and be thorough. It’s crucial to provide all the necessary details and supporting documentation to strengthen your case for loan forgiveness. Remember, every piece of information you provide contributes to painting a complete picture of your teaching experience and eligibility for the program.

Step No. 4: Get your school to fill out its portion of the form

Your school plays an important role in the loan forgiveness process. They need to certify that you meet the eligibility criteria and have completed the required teaching years. So, polish your communication skills and kindly ask your school to do their part by filling out their portion of the application.

When approaching your school, it’s helpful to provide them with clear instructions on what is required from their end. This will make the process smoother and minimize any potential delays. Remember that your school wants to support you in your pursuit of loan forgiveness, so don’t hesitate to reach out and collaborate with them.

Step No. 5: Return the completed application

Once you’ve filled out all the necessary sections and obtained your school’s certification, it’s time to send the application. Make sure to include any additional documents requested and follow the submission instructions carefully. And don’t forget to keep a copy for your records – you never know when it might come in handy.

Before you seal the envelope or hit that submit button, take a moment to review your application one last time. Ensure that all the information is accurate, all the required sections are completed, and all the supporting documents are included. This final check will give you peace of mind and increase your chances of a successful loan forgiveness application.

Remember, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is designed to support and reward educators like you. By taking the time to complete this application diligently, you are paving the way for a brighter financial future and acknowledging the invaluable contribution you make to the lives of your students.

What Happens After I Submit My Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application?

Now that you’ve sent off your application, you might find yourself anxiously waiting for a response. Take a deep breath and relax! The wheels are in motion, and the Department of Education will review your application to determine if you meet all the requirements. Once they’ve made a decision, you’ll be notified of the outcome. 

Other Loan Forgiveness Options for Teachers

While the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is an excellent opportunity, it’s not the only one you can use. Let’s explore a few other options that teachers can consider:

  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: If you work for a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness after making 120 qualifying payments.
  • State programs: Many states offer their own loan forgiveness programs for teachers (Texas, Ohio, New York). Take the time to research what options are available in your state and you might be pleasantly surprised.
  • Federal Perkins loan cancellation: If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, you may be eligible for cancellation if you meet certain criteria, such as teaching in a low-income school or specific subject areas.

Remember that each program has its own requirements and benefits, so make sure to do your homework and explore all the possibilities.

Final Thoughts

Even though student loans are just one of the many types of loans available to teachers, like mortgages, they can be some of the most cumbersome to pay off. By following the steps presented in this article and filling out your Teacher Loan Forgiveness application, you’ll be one step closer to shedding that student loan burden. Just keep in mind that patience is key – these things take time. But before you know it, you could be celebrating a debt-free life!

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.