Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
The Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is one of three loan forgiveness programs available to Texas teachers. If you are not eligible for the federal program, please review the Teach for Texas Loan Repayment Assistance and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
You can also contact your loan servicer for additional information. A loan servicer is a company that handles the billing and other services on your federal student loan.
Your school must be found on the Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) Directory to be eligible for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
Tips on Searching the TCLI Directory
To qualify for inclusion in the TCLI Directory, a campus must be located in a district that is eligible to receive Title I funds and the campus enrollment of economically disadvantaged students must be greater than 30%. The list is updated annually, so campus eligibility can change from year to year.
Before searching, make sure you are entering the name of the campus as it appears in the TEA ASK Ted district and school locator.
When searching the TCLI directory use just the first part of the name, for example, if the school is named Highland Park Elementary you would search the directory under “Highland”.
When searching by location leave the name of the school blank and enter the name of the county.
Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Process
Follow these steps to complete the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness process:
- Read the eligibility requirements for the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
- If you are eligible fill out the application found on Federal Student Aid website.
- Have the chief administrative officer sign your application. The chief administrative officer is the current superintendent, principal, assistant principal, human resources personnel or director, or other equivalent at the district you are or were employed by.
- Print your school name exactly as it appears in the directory in TCLI directory.
Mail your application to the entity repaying your loan, or guarantor. Print photocopies for yourself. Keep the date and address of when and where you mailed your application.
Information about Guarantors
To find your guarantor, do one of the following:
- Call your lender.
- Contact TG at (800) 845-6267.
- Look up your information using the National Student Loan Data System. A Federal Student Aid ID is required. You can acquire or retrieve your ID at the Federal Student website.
Your guarantor makes a determination of your eligibility within 45 days of receipt of the application.
If you qualify for loan forgiveness, you receive notification of this approval, and your loan holder receives payment (for the forgiveness amount you qualify for).
If you do not qualify for loan forgiveness, your guarantor notifies you of the denial with an explanation of why you did not qualify.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is TEA’s role regarding the teacher loan forgiveness program?
A. TEA verifies and provides the information for the eligible schools that are on the Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) Directory.
Q. Does TEA govern the TLF program and determine an educator’s eligibility for teacher loan forgiveness?
A. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program is governed by the U.S. Department of Education, not TEA. You will need to contact your loan holder directly regarding the amount of loan forgiveness you will be eligible to receive. Please be aware that the loan holder, not TEA, has authority regarding the provision of that allowance.
Q. Can TEA determine the amount of loan forgiveness that I may receive?
A. No, TEA does not determine an educator’s eligibility nor the amount that an educator may receive for teacher loan forgiveness. Eligibility information is available on the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid website.
Q. What factors do states use to determine if a school is eligible to be a "low income school" for the purpose of the TCLI program?
A. For a school to qualify they must meet all three requirements:
- The school must be a public or other nonprofit elementary or secondary school.
- The school must be in a school district of a Local Educational Agency (LEA) that is eligible each year for assistance under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).
- The number of children enrolled in the school who meet a measure of poverty under Section 1113(a)(f) of the ESEA must exceed 30 percent of the total enrollment of that school.
You may contact the district directly to determine if your campus is expected to meet these requirements.
Q. The school must reside in a Local Educational Agency (LEA) that is eligible each year for assistance under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Does the school need to be receiving Title I funds or just meet eligibility?
A. The school itself does not need to be receiving Title I funding, but it must be located in a Title I eligible district to qualify for the program.
Q. How do I access the information in the TCLI Directory?
A. If you are a member of the public (such as a student, teacher, or a college) searching to see if an elementary or secondary school or an educational service agency is listed in the directory to qualify a teacher for loan cancellations or TEACH Grant service obligations, go to the Perkins and Stafford Loan Cancellation for Service in Low-Income Schools list and narrow your search by state or school name.
Q. How do I know if my loan can be forgiven or cancelled?
A. For information on how to find out if your loan can be forgiven or cancelled, and how to apply to Teacher Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Cancellation, please review the Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge link on the Federal Student Aid Website.
Q. What information do the states provide for each eligible school?
A. States provide the following information for eligible schools:
- School Name: The full name of the school
- Location: Identified by the State, County or County/District commonly used
- Grades: The grade(s) taught at the school
- Percent: Poverty percentage, based on Free Reduced numbers, must exceed 30 percent
Q. How often is the TCLI Directory updated?
A. State and Territory agencies are asked to update the TCLI Directory at least annually. However, updates are made continuously throughout the year for the reporting year, as well as past years.
Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
A. The eligibility requirements are:
- You must not have had an outstanding balance on Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans as of 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, highly qualified teacher for five complete and consecutive academic years, and at least one of those years must have been after the 1997–1998 academic year.
- You must have been employed at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves low-income students (a "low-income school or educational service agency").
- The loan(s) for which you are seeking forgiveness must have been made before the end of your five academic years of qualifying teaching service.
Q. What if I believe my school is eligible but it is not listed in the TCLI Directory?
A. It may be possible to have your campus added to the TCLI Directory for this year upon receipt of this information from the campus administrator and /or campus registrar to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- The TEA-issued campus ID number
- The School or Education Service Agency Name
- The location of the campus (county/district)
- Grade levels served
- The percentage of economically disadvantaged students served by the campus as reported to PEIMS
Q. Who is considered a teacher?
A. A teacher is a person who provides direct classroom teaching, or classroom-type teaching in a non-classroom setting. Special education teachers are considered teachers.
Q. How much loan forgiveness can I receive?
A. The maximum forgiveness amount is either $17,500 or $5,000, depending on the subject area taught. If you have eligible loans under both the Direct Loan Program and the FFEL Program, $17,500 or $5,000 is a combined maximum forgiveness amount for both programs.
You may receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness if you were:
- a highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher who taught students at the secondary school level; or
- a highly qualified special education teacher (at either the elementary or secondary level) whose primary responsibility was to provide special education to children with disabilities, and you taught children with disabilities that corresponded to your area of special education training and demonstrated knowledge and teaching skills in the content areas of the curriculum that you taught.
- If you didn't teach mathematics, science, or special education, you may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness if you were a highly qualified full-time elementary or secondary education teacher.
Q. How and when do I apply for teacher loan forgiveness?
A. You apply for teacher loan forgiveness by submitting a completed Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application to your loan servicer after you have completed the required five consecutive years of qualifying teaching.
The chief administrative officer of the school or educational service agency where you performed your qualifying teaching service must complete the certification section. If you are applying for forgiveness of loans that are with different loan servicers, you must submit a separate form to each of them.
Q. What is considered an academic year?
A. For purposes of the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, an academic year is defined as one complete school year at the same school, or two complete and consecutive half years at different schools, or two complete and consecutive half years from different school years (at either the same school or different schools). Half years exclude summer sessions and generally fall within a 12-month period. For schools that have a year-round program of instruction, nine months is considered an academic year.
Q. Are only teachers eligible for this program?
A. This is a teacher loan forgiveness program; therefore, it does not apply to administrators, school librarians, guidance counselors, and other administrative staff.