Stafford Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
The Stafford Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program was created by Congress to encourage individuals to enter and remain in the teaching profession. To qualify for up to $5,000 loan forgiveness under this program, you must not have had an outstanding balance on a FFEL or Direct Loan program loan as of October 1, 1998. To qualify for the increased amount of loan forgiveness up to $17,500 available for certain mathematics, science, and special education teachers, you must not have had an outstanding balance on a FFEL or Direct Loan program loan as of October 1, 1998, or on the date that you obtained a FFEL or Direct Loan program loan after October 1, 1998.
- At least one of the five qualifying years of teaching must have occurred after the 1997-98 academic year.
- The loan must have been made before the end of the fifth year of qualifying teaching.
- You must have been employed as a full-time teacher for five consecutive academic years in a public or private nonprofit elementary or secondary school that has been designated as a "low-income" school by the U.S. Department of Education.
- A defaulted loan cannot be cancelled for teacher service unless you've made satisfactory repayment arrangements with the holder of the loan.
- You have not received a benefit for the same teaching service through the AmeriCorps Program.
You may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness if
- Your five years of qualifying teaching service began before October 30, 2004, and you were a full-time elementary school teacher who demonstrated knowledge and teaching skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and other areas of elementary school curriculum; or you were a full-time secondary teacher who taught in a subject area relevant to your academic major.
- Your five years of qualifying teaching service began on or after October 30, 2004, and you were a highly qualified full-time elementary or secondary school teacher.
You may receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness if you were
- A highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher in a secondary school; or
- A highly qualified special education teacher whose primary responsibility was to provide special education to children with disabilities. In addition, you must have taught children with disabilities that corresponded to your area of special education training and demonstrated knowledge and teaching in skills in the content areas of the curriculum that you were teaching.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of low-income elementary and secondary schools. To find out if a school is classified as a low-income school, check the online database for the year(s) you have been employed as a teacher. Questions about the inclusion or omission of a particular school must be directed to the state education agency contact in the state where the school is located and not to the U.S. Department of Education.
How to Apply
You apply for teacher loan cancellation after you have completed the five-year teaching requirement. Once you have completed the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application, give it to the Chief Administrative Officer at your school to complete the certification section. That individual must certify that you have taught full-time for five consecutive years at that school, and
- if you're teaching in an elementary school, that you have knowledge of–or teaching skills in–reading, writing, mathematics, and other areas of the elementary curriculum;
- if you're teaching in a secondary school, that you are teaching in a subject area relevant to your academic major.
You can also obtain a forbearance on your loan(s) while you are providing qualifying teaching service as a teacher in an eligible elementary or secondary school. Complete and return the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Forbearance form to your lender. You may also contact your loan holder, who can provide the forbearance form and determine your eligibility.
If your loan is guaranteed by KHEAA-Alabama when your application is complete, you may submit it directly to KHEAA-Alabama for review. KHEAA-Alabama will make a determination of your eligibility for loan forgiveness within 45 days of receipt of the application.
- If you are approved for loan forgiveness, KHEAA-Alabama will notify you of this approval and send a payment to your lender for the forgiveness amount for which you qualify.
- If you do not qualify for loan forgiveness, KHEAA-Alabama will send you notification of the denial explaining why you do not qualify.
If you have any questions about the teacher loan forgiveness application process, call customer assistance at 800.928.8926.