Federal teacher loan forgiveness applies to the following student loans:
- Direct Subsidized Loans,
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans,
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans.
The federal teacher loan forgiveness program is available to classroom teachers who serve for five consecutive years in a designated low-income school or educational service agency. The low-income designation applies to any school or educational service agency with greater than 30% poverty among its students for a school year. If a school is enrolled in the federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch (FRPL) program, FRPL is used to determine poverty. Schools and educational service agencies that do not use FRPL (such as those serving special needs students) and wish to determine eligibility as a low-income school should contact NYSED's Office of Information and Reporting Services at (518) 474-7965 or submit a data support ticket with the heading "Teacher Loan Forgiveness."
Low-income schools are listed by school year in the Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) directory. Student loan servicing companies such as Navient and Nelnet, as well as university-based lenders such as SUNY or Syracuse University, rely on the TCLI directory to verify a school’s low-income status.
Guidelines for teacher loan forgiveness, as well as a link to the teacher loan forgiveness application, can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.
In addition to the minimum of five years of service in a low-income school, the school must be a designated Title I school. Title I status can be found here.
How to apply for teacher loan forgiveness:
- In your fifth (or greater) consecutive year of teaching in a designated low-income school or schools, verify that your school(s) appear in the TCLI directory for all five years.
- Note: The New York portion of the TCLI directory is typically updated in the summer AFTER the school year (e.g. for 2016-17, New York State schools were added in late August 2017).
- Download the teacher loan forgiveness form from the Federal Student Aid website listed above.
- Obtain required signature(s) from your principal, superintendent, or school leader by the end of your fifth (or greater) year of teaching. If you taught in more than one low-income school during your five consecutive years of service, enter information for the most recent school on the application (Section 5) and attach a letter from the principal, superintendent, or school leader for each prior school which includes your dates of service in the school, your position, and your certification status at the time.
- As soon as your school appears in the TCLI directory for the fifth year, you may submit your application.
- Mail the application to your lender (Navient, NelNet, etc.). NYSED does not receive or process teacher loan forgiveness applications.
**Note: Be sure to look up your school prior to filling out your application. The school name you put on your application must exactly match the school name listed in the TCLI. If it differs, there is a risk that your lender will not find your school in the directory and your application will be denied.
Stand-alone preschools (not special education) and Headstart programs do NOT qualify as institutions for teacher loan forgiveness. Teachers in these programs may choose to seek loan forgiveness through the federal public service loan forgiveness program.
Special instructions for teachers in New York City schools:
- District 75 (special education) schools: as of 2012-13, all District 75 schools participate in the community eligibility option of FRPL, which means that all of these schools qualify for the low-income status. In the location section of the TCLI, District 75 schools’ location is listed as NYC CENTRAL OFFICE.
- Leave out the “x,” “m,” “q,” etc. distinction after the school name (ex: instead of PS 123x, use PS 123). These letters used to indicate borough location are local designations and are not used for the formal names of schools in the TCLI directory.
- Locations in the TCLI directory are usually county names. However, for some years NYC schools are listed by borough name. In an initial search, it is often best to enter the school name but leave the “location” blank (see more tips on searching the TCLI directory below).
- To certify employment in NYC, teachers may be required to go to the district office rather than have the principal sign the TLF form.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding federal loan forgiveness can be found here.