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:: Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) Program ::

Teacher Loan Forgiveness brochure

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) Program was created to encourage people to become educators within designated schools that serve low-income families. Teachers with Stafford loans may qualify for loan forgiveness if they meet the program's specific eligibility requirements.

Use our Teacher Loan Forgiveness checklist PDF  as a guide to help you determine your eligibility. If you can answer yes to all of the eligibility requirements listed, you may qualify for some level Stafford loan forgiveness. Download our Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program brochure PDF to find out more.

Common Questions about TLF


Who do I contact if I have questions?

If you have any questions about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, contact Jaime Shelton at 405.234.4281 or by email at jshelton@ocap.org.

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What loans are eligible for forgiveness?

Subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans from the FFELP and/or the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program are eligible. The portion of a consolidation loan that paid off an eligible Stafford loan may also be eligible for forgiveness.

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Is my Federal Perkins loan eligible for forgiveness?

Federal Perkins loans may be eligible for complete loan cancellation after teaching for five years in a designated low-income school or in a subject-matter shortage area. Please note that cancellation benefits will be lost if you consolidate your Perkins loan. Contact your school or visit the Federal Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation page for more information.

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Is my consolidation loan eligible for forgiveness?

It depends. To be eligible for forgiveness, you must be considered a new borrower. Consolidation loans aren't considered new loans and don't qualify you as a new borrower. You're considered a new borrower if you got your loan after Oct. 1, 1998, and didn't have an outstanding balance on a Stafford or Direct loan when you got your loan. Only the portion of your consolidation loan that paid off an eligible Stafford loan may be eligible for forgiveness.

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What if I got my loans before Oct. 1, 1998?

If you had a federal student loan before Oct. 1, 1998, you must have repaid all loans before receiving new loans on or after Oct. 1, 1998. Congress didn't include provisions in the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program legislation to include forgiveness for loans received before Oct. 1, 1998.

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Are teacher’s aides eligible for the program?

The program is only available for full-time teachers, which doesn't include teacher’s aides.

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Does my five years of service have to be at the same school?

No. Your five years of qualifying teaching service may be in different eligible low–income schools. If your five years of service wasn't at the same school, you must complete a separate application for each school. The specific name of the school must be listed. You can access the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits to find out if your school is considered a low-income school.

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What if I've had an interruption in my five years of teaching service?

There are some instances that aren't considered an interruption in the requirement of five complete, consecutive years of teaching service.

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What if my school is no longer designated as a low-income school?

If the school was designated as a qualifying low-income school when you began employment, all subsequent years continue to qualify even if the school doesn't currently meet the criteria.

If you're initially employed by a school that doesn't meet the criteria and the school later qualifies, your five years of qualifying service begins when the school meets the eligibility criteria.

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Are schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) low-income schools?

Yes. Schools operated by the BIA are considered low-income schools for teacher loan forgiveness purposes.

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What are the next steps if I'm eligible?

If you meet the eligibility requirements for teacher loan forgiveness, the next step is to complete the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application PDF. You and the chief administrative officer of the school where you performed your qualifying teaching service must complete the form. Once the form is complete, you'll need to send it to your lender.

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Who's the chief administrative officer?

The chief administrative officer (CAO) is the official at your school (such as the principal, assistant principal or superintendent) who's responsible for supervising your employment as a teacher. The CAO also has access to records relating to your experience and qualifications for teaching. They must certify on the application that your teaching service met requirements for loan forgiveness for all five years.

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How do I know how much I’m eligible for?

The total amount of loan forgiveness you may be eligible for depends on when your period of teaching service began, your qualifications and the type of teaching service you performed. You may not get more than the maximum loan forgiveness amount allowed for the same teaching service for both Stafford and Direct loans.

There are different requirements for $5,000 in loan forgiveness and for the maximum $17,500 in loan forgiveness.

$5,000 in loan forgiveness

You may qualify for up to $5,000 in benefits for your qualified teaching service if:


$17,500 in loan forgiveness

You may qualify for up to $17,500 for your qualified teaching service if you served as:

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How will the loan forgiveness payment be applied?

Unless you instruct otherwise, your loan servicerloan servicerloan servicer will apply the payment received first to any outstanding unsubsidized Stafford loan balances, then to any outstanding subsidized Stafford loan balances and finally to any eligible outstanding consolidation loan balances.

You're not eligible for refunds on payments already made on your loan.

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If I don't qualify now but expect to later, can I stop making payments on my loan?

You must make your regular monthly payments on your loan during the five years of teaching service. However, when the loan balance nears the benefit amount you qualify for, you may request a forbearance in annual increments during each of the years in which you perform your qualifying teaching service. A Teacher Loan Forgiveness Forbearance form PDF will need to be completed and submitted to your loan servicer.

Your loan servicer is required to grant this forbearance only if they believe the maximum forgiveness amount you're seeking will pay your loan balance in full at the end of your qualifying teaching service.

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What are some terms I should know?

Academic year is:

*Half-years exclude summer and generally fall within a 12-month period.


Chief administrative officer is the official in your school (such as the principal or assistant principal) who's responsible for supervising your employment as a teacher and who has access to records relating to your experience and qualifications for teaching.

Elementary school is a public or nonprofit private school that provides elementary education as determined by state law or the U.S. Department of Education if that school isn't in a state.

Full-time means the standard used by a state in defining full-time employment as a teacher. If you teach in more than one school, full-time is based on the combination of all of your qualifying employment.

Forgiveness means that you're no longer responsible for repaying part or all of the loan, including interest, once you have performed qualifying teaching service.

Forgiveness forbearance means postponing loan payments until qualifying teaching service has been performed, if the maximum forgiveness amount will satisfy the anticipated outstanding balance.

Highly qualified teacher is a teacher in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school who has obtained a full state certification as a teacher (including certification obtained through alternative routes to certification) or passed the state teacher licensing examination and holds a license to teach in that state, except that, when used with respect to teaching in a public charter school. The term "charter school" means that the teacher meets the requirements set forth in the state’s public charter school law and has not had certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary or provisional basis. In addition, the teacher must be one of the following:


Loans that are eligible for forgiveness are federal Stafford loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) and any portion of a federal consolidation loan that was used to pay off an eligible Stafford loan.

Secondary school is a public or nonprofit private school that provides secondary education as determined by state law or the U.S. Department of Education if the school is not in the state.

Special education means specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, at no cost to parents, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, as well as instruction in physical education, i.e., physical therapy.

Teacher means a person who provides direct classroom teaching or classroom-type teaching in a non-classroom setting, including special education teachers.

Qualifying school is an elementary or secondary school operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) or operated on an Indian reservation by an Indian tribal group under contract with the BIA, or a school that meets all of the following criteria:

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Where can I find more information about the program?

More details about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program can be found on the U. S. Department of Education's website.

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Are there other teacher loan forgiveness programs?

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