Sad to say, the U. S. Department of Education is not a particularly forgiving owner or guarantor of student loan. This is putting it mildly. There are, however, some narrow exceptions carved out for Oregon and Washington student loan borrowers who are serving their communities by serving as teachers or work as public service employees. Forgiveness may come in full or in part depending on a variety of factors.
Teacher Loan Cancellation or Forgiveness
There multiple loan forgiveness programs available to teachers. Some of these programs only apply to teachers working with low income students. You may want to check with your principal or other administrator to find out if your school qualifies.
Perkins Loan Cancellation for K-12 classroom teachers – this option is only available for Perkins Loans. In order to obtain forgiveness, you must teach for five consecutive full years at a qualified (low income/educational service) school. Note that teachers at some private schools may qualify. Teachers who qualify include:
- Teachers in a “designated subject shortage area”
- Teachers working in low income schools
- Special education teachers
- teachers in the fields of math, science, foreign language, bilingual education
Teacher Loan Forgiveness for Stafford Loans and Direct Loans – this program can forgive somewhere between $5,000 and $17,500 for qualified teachers who work full time for 5 consecutive years. If your loan is in default, we must cure the default before applying.
- If you teach special education in an eligible elementary or secondary school, you may obtain up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness.
- If you teach math or science in an eligible secondary school, you may obtain up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness.
- you may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness for teaching other subjects in a qualified elementary or secondary school
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) – this program is available to anyone employed full time1 in a public service job for ten years. Your employer will need to complete an employment certification form. Qualifying public service jobs include such things as:
- military service
- emergency management
- public health
- public education
- early childhood education
- government employees
- social work in a government agency
- public interest legal services
- employees of 501(c)(3) organizations
Note: Public Service Loan Forgiveness is only available direct loans held by the U.S. Department of Education.
- FFEL loans must be consolidated into a Direct Loan to qualify
- Perkins loans must be consolidated into a Direct Loan to qualify
- Grad PLUS loans must be consolidated into a Direct Loan to qualify
- Parent PLUS loans do qualify for PSLF but there may be less financial benefit because consolidation loans including Parent PLUS loans do not currently qualify for income based repayment