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Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers in Texas

Instructor: Melinda Santos
If you teach in a low-income school and/or in a high-need subject area, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness in Texas. Continue reading to learn more about the eligibility criteria and how to apply for these benefits, then check out the useful teaching resources provided at the end.

Who Qualifies for Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness

Teachers who are new to the profession and those who are already established in their careers are both eligible for loan forgiveness options in Texas. Depending on the type of student loan teachers have, these options can include partial loan forgiveness, repayment assistance or payment deferments. To qualify, teachers must typically be working at low-income schools or teaching one of the subjects on the Texas Education Agency's list of shortage areas. This list is generated each year and, as of the 2015-2016 school year, includes the following high-needs subject areas:

  • Bilingual Education/English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Special Education
  • Science
  • Computer Science
  • Technical/Career Education
  • Math

How to Apply for Loan Forgiveness Programs

Individuals who meet the qualifications above can begin the process of applying for loan forgiveness by first contacting their lender to determine what type of loan they have. The lender will be able to determine if that type of loan qualifies for loan forgiveness or deferment, and they should be able to provide the forms required to apply for one of the loan forgiveness programs below.

Federal Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation

Teachers who hold a Federal Perkins Loan are eligible for loan cancellation or deferment if they meet the requirements below. The university or school that provided the funds is the lender for this type of loan.

Requirements:

  • Teach in a designated low-income school or in a shortage subject area
  • Teach math, science or bilingual education/foreign language, even if those are not designated as shortage areas that year
  • Complete at least one academic year of full-time teaching

Amounts:

The full amount of a Federal Perkins Loan, including interest, can be cancelled in the following increments:

Years of Service in Designated AreaPercentage of Loan Cancelled Per Year
1-2 years 15%
3-4 years20%
5 and up30%

Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Individuals who teach at one of the eligible schools listed in the U.S. Department of Education's Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory can qualify for this loan forgiveness program as long as they meet the additional requirements below. If the school loses its eligibility during a teacher's service years, he/she will still be able to receive loan forgiveness for all years completed after the change.

Requirements:

  • Five academic years in a row as a full-time teacher at a designated low-income school
  • At least one year of service must have been completed after 1997-1998
  • Loan must have been granted prior to the completion of the final year of required service
  • No outstanding balances on Federal Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loans
  • Statement from a chief administrative officer at your school or educational service agency verifying you meet all requirements listed below

Amounts:

Loan Forgiveness AmountGuidelines
Up to $5,000 Applicants beginning service after Oct. 30, 2004: Must be considered 'highly qualified' according to the No Child Left Behind Act during service years
Applicants beginning service prior to Oct. 30, 2004: Must have 'highly qualified' designation; elementary school teachers must have demonstrated proficiency in teaching such areas as math, reading and writing; secondary subject area taught must be related to degree major
Up to $17,500'Highly qualified' designation with service provided in science or math at the secondary level or special education at the elementary level

Teach for Texas Loan Repayment Assistance Program (TFTLRAP)

To draw and retain qualified teachers in high-need subjects and low-income areas, the TFTLRAP helps eligible teachers repay portions of student loans. Teachers who received funding from the TFTLRAP in previous years can reapply if they remain eligible. Eligibility requirements for new applicants are listed below in order of importance.

Requirements:

To receive benefits from this loan repayment program, teachers must meet one of the following:

  • Individuals who teach high-need subjects at schools with teacher shortages and a student population that is at least 75% low-income
  • Teachers in all other subjects at schools with teacher shortages and a student population that is at least 75% low-income
  • Teachers in high-need subject areas at schools with a population of 49%-75% low-income students
  • Educators who demonstrate a financial need, as measured by the adjusted gross income filed on their current tax return

Amounts:

  • Amount awarded varies each fiscal year. The maximum award amount for 2016 is $2,500.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Under the PSLF program, qualifying applicants may have the remaining balance of their student loans forgiven if they work full time in a public service position. Individuals must first make at least 120 qualifying payments on the loan as part of a repayment plan and meet the following additional requirements.

Requirements:

  • Applicant must have a Federal Direct Loan
  • All qualifying payments must have been made monthly, on-time and after October 1, 2007
  • Full-time employment at a public service organization, including government agencies and private non-profit organizations, which includes public and private schools

Amounts:

  • Amount of loan forgiveness varies depending on the individual's remaining balance after the 120 qualifying payments have been made.

Resources for Teachers in High-Need Subject Areas

Learn more about teaching in high-need subject areas, including special education, by reviewing the courses and lessons below. These resources can also be used to refresh your skills and provide new teaching strategies if you currently teach one of these subjects.

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