Stafford Loan Forgiveness

Student debts are increasingly becoming a huge problem for college students in the United States. The worst part is that it’s not only affecting the financial part of their lives, but also their day-to-day lives. Nearly half of Millennials have stopped saving towards retirement or put a hold on purchasing a house so that they can pay off their student loan debt. Currently, student debts are around $1.56 trillion, and it doesn’t look like it’s decreasing any time soon. That’s why forgiveness programs such as Stafford loan forgiveness, is such a massive deal to millions of students.

 

For example, the Stafford loan forgiveness for teachers continues to be an excellent way for teachers to have their debts forgiven. The forgiveness program can reduce the debt stress of teachers. Refusing to take advantage of this benefit is like throwing away free money. 

 

Also, Stafford loan forgiveness for nurses has, over the years, encouraged nurses to serve the public while getting their debts forgiven. There are several options to get out of student debts without a scratch if you know which forgiveness plan to choose. That is why we recommend that you seek an expert’s advice before you go ahead with your decision.

In this guide, we will take a quick detailed look at: 

  • Stafford loans and how they work
  • Stafford forgiveness for teachers 
  • How to apply for Stafford loans 

Now, let’s get into it!

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Stafford Loans

Stafford loans are sometimes known as Direct Loans. It’s one of the most common ways you can use to pay off your student debts. According to the Department of Education (DOE), over 33 million borrowers in the US have more than one of the Stafford or Direct loans. The Stafford loans are part of the federal loans, which means that when you take a loan from the Stafford loans, you are borrowing from the federal government or Department of Education to be precise. When the time is due to repaying your loans, you’ll do so to the government. Currently, the federal government has 92% of all college student loans. 

 

The government has many student loan agencies that take care of loan collection and customer service. However, you have to know that private student loans offer different repayment terms and interest rates, which can be helpful if you want to take care of debts you incurred when you took grants, scholarships, and financial aids. 

The Stafford loans have two major types of loans: 

  • Subsidized Stafford loan which is only available to undergraduates 
  • Unsubsidized Stafford loan, open to graduate and undergraduate students 

If you want a clear understanding of Stafford loan forgiveness and Stafford loan in general, you need to understand these basic vital terms: 

Subsidized Loan

The government offers these loans to undergraduates who are in severe financial need. When you qualify for the program, the interest will start to increase after six months of the grace period (we will get to that shortly) and through your entire repayment period. The government covers your interest while in school or if your student loan is in deferment.

Unsubsidized Loan

The Department of Education offers unsubsidized loans to graduates and undergraduates. You don’t need to be in a financial need to be eligible for the loan, which means the interest will start to increase while you are pursuing your college degree. And you are totally in charge of paying back the student loan. 

Grace Period

The grace period is six months designated for you after you graduate or leave school. During the grace period, you don’t make repayments on your student loans. So, it’s during that time you get to put yourself together before you start making payments. 

Origination Fee

In the origination fee, the Department of Education determines the amount they should deduct from the amount you borrowed. 

Annual Loan Amount

The US Education Department sets the limit of the amount with which you can borrow from the subsidized or unsubsidized loan in a year. 

Cumulative Loan Amount

It refers to the total aggregate amount of student loans, subsidized or unsubsidized, which you can borrow in your lifetime. 

How The Stafford Loans Work

One significant difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans is the interest rates. The federal government pays the interest rate on subsidized loans while the student is in school or if the student loan is in deferment. However, for the unsubsidized loans, the student will have to pay for any interest in it. If you don’t pay the interests, the government will add it to your student loan balance. 

 

In the 2019-2020 academic year, the interest rate for undergraduate students is 4.53%. For graduate students, the interest rate is 6.08%. Remember that they are fixed interest rates, which means it’ll stay the same for the rest of the loan life. The interest loans reset to new loans every year on July 1. It doesn’t matter which student loan you choose; the Stafford loan doesn’t work the same way as mortgage or credit cards. The reason being that Stafford loans accrue daily. If you want more information on the interest rates, visit the official Federal Student Aid website, or contact us and will help you out immediately. 

Eligibility Requirement

Truthfully speaking, the Stafford loans is one of the simplest ways to acquire student loans. The reason is that the federal government doesn’t need to evaluate your credit or opportunity to pay back your loans. It’s a great deal, especially for young people who are new to the financial decision-making world. However, the other side is that the government doesn’t know if you can manage the loan you borrowed. So, be extra careful when going in for student loans. Make sure you borrow the loan you only need and can repay without any difficulties. 

 

Stafford loans have different eligibility criteria than private student loans. To qualify for Stafford loans, you need to: 

  • Be a US national, citizen, or qualified non-citizen 

  • Enroll half-time minimum in an eligible certificate or degree program 

  • Acquire a high school diploma or its equivalence 

  • Be sure you are not in default on any federal student loans

  • Meet the standard qualification requirements for federal student aid 

The school you attend will determine the amount you can borrow based on the attendance cost and financial aid you receive. 

 

Now, let’s take a look at Stafford loan forgiveness. 

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Stafford Loan Forgiveness For Teachers

Stafford loan forgiveness is still one of the excellent loan forgiveness programs for teachers in existence. You can get enormous benefits if only you qualify for the program. The government created the Staford student loan forgiveness for teachers to encourage students to be teachers. It is also to help teachers who are already in the field to continue teaching or even enroll in advanced degrees in learning programs. 

 

The Stafford student loan forgiveness gives a maximum of $17,500 forgiveness benefits for teachers who have subsidized or unsubsidized loans. If you want to take part in the forgiveness program, you have to teach for five consecutive school years, full-time. You have to teach in an approved secondary school, elementary school, or an agency in the educational service whose primary efforts are to aid low-income families. 

 

Note this: if you have PLUS loans, you will not qualify for the Stafford loan forgiveness for teachers program. 

Qualification Requirements For Stafford Loan Forgiveness For Teachers

Even though it’s a federal loan program, everyone cannot be eligible for the forgiveness program. If you have a private student loan, you will not qualify for the program. In fact, teachers who have federal student loans will have to qualify for some strict conditions before they can get the full benefit of the program.

Here’s what you need to qualify for the Stafford student loan forgiveness: 

  1. You should not have any outstanding loan balance on FFEL or Direct loans beginning on October 1, 1998, or the date you got your Direct loan or FFEL after October 1, 1998. 
  2. Don’t be on default on your unsubsidized or subsidized loan, except you have made plans to repay the loan debt with the loan lender who has your defaulted loans. If you want to inquire more about this information, you can contact us right now, and we will gladly assist you. 
  3. You must have outstanding loans on which to receive forgiveness before your five-year teaching service ends. It means you will not qualify for any forgiveness benefits after you exhaust your requirements of the five-year service. 
  4. Teaching in AmeriCorps does not count in the five-year term of your teaching service. The five years of your teaching service must be outside the AmeriCorps. 
  5. You must be a full-time employer for five consecutive school years, beginning from at least the 1997-98 school year. But it should not be a problem if you are now considering or planning to take part in the program. 
  6. You must work in a secondary school or elementary school that has approved requirements from the federal government. (more on that below) 

Eligibility Requirements For Schools

For you to qualify for the Stafford student loan forgiveness, the school you enroll in should also meet specific criteria before you can fully enjoy the forgiveness benefits. Here are the eligibility qualifications you need to meet: 

  1. Your school should be eligible for the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 Title I funds
  2. The US Department of Education should select the school on the basis that a minimum of 30% of the overall school enrollment should comprise of students who are eligible for services provided under Title I
  3. The school should be enlisted for the federal government’s Teacher Cancellation Low-Income (TCLI) directory. Also, if your school is run by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), or a tribal group Indian reservation in contract with BIE, it can be eligible for the requirement. 

If the school you enroll in qualifies for one of the above requirements during which you had your one year service but didn’t qualify for the following years, you can count those years as part of your service required.

Do All Teachers Qualify For The Stafford Student Loan Forgiveness?

Simple answer, no, as said earlier. Most people think that just because you are a teacher, you automatically qualify for the forgiveness benefits. It’s not true. You have to be eligible for the requirements stated by the federal government, and one of them is being a highly qualified teacher. According to the government, to be a highly qualified teacher, you need to teach in a classroom directly or teach in a classroom-like setting, such as the gymnasium, library, etc. If you fail to meet this condition, you will also fail to acquire your student loan forgiveness.

 

Here is the standard definition provided by the federal government on what it means to be a highly qualified teacher. If you qualify based on the description, then you can receive your forgiveness program.  

Highly Qualified Teacher

You must meet the following conditions to be eligible as a highly qualified teacher: 

  • You should have a complete state teaching certificate or pass the state teacher license exams, and have your license to teach in the state. But, if you teach at a charter school, you must meet the qualifications the public charter school law provides. 
  • You should not have your teaching certificate or license conditions waived, no matter what, even if it is because of temporary reasons or emergencies. 

There are other requirements for teachers at the secondary and elementary school level, which are different from the conditions outlined above. The requirements are both for new and experienced teachers. They are all necessary if you want to make sure you make the right call, and not miss out on the forgiveness program. Let’s go through them to have a clear understanding. 

Requirements For Elementary Teachers

Here are the requirements for elementary teachers before they can qualify for the forgiveness program: 

  1. You must have a bachelor’s degree minimum 
  2. You should pass your state test to show sufficient teaching skills and knowledge in the following subjects: reading, writing, mathematics, writing, and various elementary curriculum. 

Basic Requirements For Secondary Teachers

  1. You should have a bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement 
  2. Show a high level of skills to teach in all academic subjects in the following ways: 
  • Pass an approved test in every academic subject
  • Receive a certificate for passing your performance or licensing test
  1. You must finish a graduate degree course, any course work equal to an undergraduate major, or approved certification in the academic subject you teach

Eligibility Requirements For Experienced Secondary And Elementary Teachers

    1. You must have a bachelor’s degree
    2. Meet all the required standards for teachers 
    3. You must show a high proficiency in every academic subject that you teach. You can do so if you pass all the standard tests. 

    Special education teachers qualify for loan forgiveness even if they don’t meet all the highly qualified teacher qualifications. 

Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Help

If you struggle with university student loan forgiveness, then you should get help with that. Because the employees in these agencies are dealing with the student loans every day and they have enough experience for solving different kinds of student loan problems.

The Duration Requirements And What Happens If you Miss One Academic Year

For you to qualify for the forgiveness benefit, you need to teach for five years consecutively in a low-income school. The government determines which school classifies as low-income schools. That means, before you teach in a school, you have to make sure that the school meets the standard set by the federal government. 

 

For you to know if a school is a low-income school, you have to view the Department of Education’s list, which is on their official website. Sometimes, the school may qualify as a low-income school, but they might not state on the record. In such instances, contact the State Education Agency to find out why the school is not part of the list.

 

If you fail to complete an academic year during your five-year consecutive period, there is a slim chance you can still qualify for the forgiveness benefit, if: 

  1. You finished half of the academic year which you did not fully complete 
  2. Your employer stated in writing that you fulfilled the contract terms for the uncompleted academic year concerning your tenure, retirement plan, and salary increment 
  3. You couldn’t complete the academic year due to the following reasons: 
  • If you went back to your post-secondary education on a half-time basis at least to study in an area associated with the eligible teaching service explained above. 
  • If you took a medical leave which the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 covers
  • You received an order to return to active duty for a minimum of 30 days if you are a member of the Armed Forces reserves.

Conclusion

You have to know that for you to clear off your student loan debts, there’s not a short way to do it. You have to go through the process and the years required for you to obtain your loan forgiveness. There are other options you can explore to get rid of your student loans. In this guide, we covered Stafford forgiveness, particularly for teachers, but there is Stafford loan forgiveness for nurses available, if you are in the nursing field. 

 

You can search on this page to find out more plans available for you if you don’t qualify for the Stafford loan forgiveness. If you need help, we are there to assist you in any way we can. Take the time to decide which forgiveness program is suitable for you. If you are a teacher or a nurse, the Public Student Loan Forgiveness can help. But Stafford loan forgiveness for nurses can also help. The right decision depends on how well-informed you are. So, contact us right now, so we help you.