I love my job, I really do, but like life, sometimes things get tough and ridiculous. One of the perks of being a teacher however, is the wonderful world of student loan forgiveness. I mean, I have an absolutely ridiculous amount of student loans (mostly thanks to deferring loan payments for two years while I was taking online french classes, what was I thinking?!) so it's nice to have a little help.
The first benefit teachers can get as soon as they start working is actually for loan cancellation....awesome! Loan cancellation pretty much means the balance of your loan goes away, sometimes over time. The loan cancellation I am getting is for my Perkins loan. Every year I fill out a form, have an assistant principal sign it and use the fancy stamp, then ship it off to the Perkins people. Boom! A couple weeks later I receive a letter showing me that a certain percentage of my loan has been cancelled and a new form to repeat the process the following year. Yes it is annoying to have to fill the form out every year, but it is incredibly satisfying watching that balance decrease each year without having to pay a cent.
Perhaps the most awesome part of the Perkins deal? The accrued interest is also cancelled. I think the Perkins people are teacher lovers, or at least appreciators. Here are the details.
The benefit that actually prompted this blog post is the Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program. After you've been teaching for five years (my five year anniversary is February 1st!) you can apply for a portion of your direct loans to be forgiven. $5,000 for elementary or secondary teachers, a whopping $17,500 for those teaching math, science, or special ed. Once again, have someone at work validate the form, and voila. Well, hopefully voila, I have yet to apply for this one myself.
The program that seems to be the most awesome, yet requires the most time teaching is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. After making 120 consecutive monthly payments, (that's 10 years folks!) your remaining balance is forgiven. Amazing. There are some catches, you need to consolidate your loans with the direct loan people and be in one of three or four approved payment plans. Follow those rules and you are golden. The direct loan people are very helpful in assisting you in the consolidation and payment plan picking process.
Do any teachers know of any loan forgiveness/cancellation programs that I haven't listed? I would love to hear about anything else that has worked for other people.