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Removing student loan debt

Posted on May 29, 2018

Federal loan forgiveness programs

If you’re stressing about your federal student loan debt, know that there is help. Various relief and forgiveness options may be available to help relieve the financial burden of repaying your student loans.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

After your first five years of teaching, you could be eligible for forgiveness amounts varying from $5,000 to $17,500. So how do you know if you are eligible?

The dollar amount of your debt that can be forgiven will vary depending on what grade level and subject matter you teach. Generally, to be eligible you:

  • Must have an eligible Stafford or Ford loan
  • Must not have received a benefit for the same teaching service through AmeriCorps or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
  • Cannot be in default on a loan unless satisfactory repayment arrangements have been made
  • Must have received the loan for which you are requesting forgiveness before the end of your fifth year of teaching
  • Must have worked at least five consecutive years of qualified full-time teaching service

If you meet these criteria, you may:

Receive up to $5,000

You may receive up to $5,000 in federal loan forgiveness if you:

  • Are a full-time elementary school teacher in mathematics, reading, writing or other specific areas of the school’s curriculum
  • Are a full-time secondary school teacher teaching in a subject that was related to your academic major

Receive up to $17,500

You may receive up to $17,500 in federal loan forgiveness if you:

  • Are a highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher in an eligible secondary school
  • Are a highly qualified special education teacher whose primary responsibility is to provide special education to children with disabilities, and you teach children with disabilities that correspond to your area of special education training

To see if your school/position qualifies, head to or call 800-4-FedAid.

Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge

In a Perkins loan, your school is the lender. The interest rate for Perkins loans is low, and they’re available for both graduate and undergraduate students. They also come with additional cancellations and discharges the more years you are an educator. The percentage of your principal balance and accrued interest that can be canceled will increase each year. By your fifth year of teaching, you can cancel 100% of your balance and accrued interest.

If you have a Perkins loan, you could qualify for forgiveness options if you do any of the following:

  • Serve students from low-income families
  • Teach special education for children with disabilities
  • Teach fields of subject matter with teacher shortages
  • Teach in a school operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is intended to encourage individuals to work full-time in public service jobs, including public education. Over 33 million Americans, or approximately one-third of the U.S. workforce, have qualifying employment for this program. So how does it work? After you have made 120 (10 years) qualifying monthly payments while teaching full-time, the PSLF program will forgive the remaining amount of your non-defaulted federal loan – including all accrued interest – tax-free! To register for the PSLF program, submit the Employment Certification Form.

Get in touch

Understanding the different eligibility requirements for federal forgiveness programs can be confusing. As part of our commitment to helping educators plan for a successful financial future, Horace Mann offers no-cost Student Loan Solutions Workshops to help educate you and your colleagues about the forgiveness process. For more information about Student Loan Solutions Workshops, visit

AM-C04292 (April 18)

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