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Federal Loan Forgiveness

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program was created by Congress to encourage individuals to enter and remain in the teaching profession.

Forgiveness Amounts — (Maximum amount per borrower)

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.

General Requirements

  • To qualify for loan forgiveness, you must not have had an outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL program loan on October 1, 1998, or on the date that you obtained a Direct Loan or FFEL program loan after October 1, 1998.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Low-Income Schools

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 years 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

If you believe you qualify, complete the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application.

Please note: In Section 6, an educational service agency is now defined as "as regional public multiservice agency authorized by state statute to develop, manage, and provide services."

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.

Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program

The federal Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program addresses the shortage of registered nurses at some types of nonprofit health care facilities by helping nurses repay their federal student loans.

In exchange for two years of service, participants receive 60 percent of their total qualifying nursing education loan balance. For an optional third year of service, participants may receive 25 percent of their original total qualifying nursing education loan balance.

Find more information and the application here.

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

If you are unable to work and earn money because of an injury or illness that is expected to last indefinitely or result in death, you may be eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability Discharge (TPD).

Effective July 1, 2013 please contact the Department of Education's Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Servicer for information regarding total and permanent disability discharge. You may go online at to initiate your intent to apply for TPD discharge. In addition, you may call the TPD Servicer seven days a week at 888-303-7818 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) or send an email to