Those who want to attend college but are uncertain about the wisdom of running up huge amounts in loans would be wise to consider the Stafford loan forgiveness program for teachers. Students who consider teaching as a profession can benefit immensely by having up to $17,500 of their federal loans forgiven if they are prepared to meet the criterion laid out in the program. Such programs would undoubtedly aid single parents who are afraid of acquiring so much debt whilst pursuing a degree but would then be able to work such a career move into their schedule upon graduation.
The teacher loan forgiveness program was devised “to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession.” There is often a difficulty in recruiting teachers into both elementary and secondary schools which serve low income families, yet those who are prepared to teach in this kind of school are eligible for forgiveness of both the principal and interest on their federal loans, providing they are not in default on such loans at the time of application. They will not be eligible if they have already received loan aid through the AmeriCorps program.
In order to qualify for student loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 in both subsidized and unsubsidized federal Stafford loans the applicant must teach for five consecutive school years in a school which is deemed eligible under the terms of the program. Federal consolidated loans are also included so those considering the program should calculate if consolidation will best serve them in conjunction with the forgiveness scheme.
Each year the US department of education publishes a full list of low income elementary and secondary schools which fit the remit of the teacher forgiveness program. All Bureau of Indian Education schools qualify for the program. Those who teach full time may qualify for up to $5000 in forgiveness or up to $17,500 if they are highly qualified teachers who teach either mathematics or science in a qualifying secondary school, or highly qualified teachers of children with disabilities.
You will continue to make payments to your federal student loans whilst teaching and these payments cannot be refunded by your lender. However your lender can grant forbearance of payments if the anticipated amount of forgiveness is enough to discharge the remainder of your student federal debts at the end of the designated 5 years of teaching. Thus if your principal loan and interest compounded would be equal to the amount awarded to you under the scheme you can teach and have forbearance granted at the same time.
There is no obligation to remain in the teaching profession once the 5 years are completed: alternatively you could progress within the teaching profession within those 5 years and have carved out a good career with invaluable experience whilst not having the burden of student loan debt to carry.