05/02/2015 11:48 am ET | Updated May 01, 2016

How Teachers Can Save Thousands on Their Student Loans

The average teacher accrues over $50,000 in combined debt to receive a master's in education according to a study conducted by the New American Foundation for 2012 graduates. Trying to overcome a $400 monthly payment does not have to be handled on your own and fortunately, there are forgiveness options available on a state and federal to help repay student debt.

There are four federal forgiveness programs to qualifying teachers who are interested in providing teaching assistance to underserved and/or low-income communities identified as a critical need shortage area or within a critical subject field.

Of note, the Federal Teach Grant offers up to $4,000 per year for a four-year service commitment within a qualified shortage field or area. For a recent masters graduate, the forgiveness savings can eliminate a large portion of debt and help teachers pay off their loans in a commendable way.

On a state level there are approximately 24 states that have student loan forgiveness programs and forgive between $250-$6,000 per year. The level of forgiveness and likelihood of acceptance will increase for applicants who teach within subject shortages and at high value sites. In addition, these programs usually require:

  • A service commitment to a state's critical subject field or shortage area in exchange for forgiveness.
  • Graduation from the state's teaching program and/or have required state licensing.
  • Qualifying loans and a demonstrated level of need.
  • The applicant must not be a participant in a federal forgiveness program.
If you would like to learn more about these service-oriented forgiveness options, check out the reference guide below to see if your state has a program and the details regarding each individual program:

And if you have outstanding loans after forgiveness or are in a professional situation where are unable to find forgiveness, then you may want to look into refinancing your student loans as a way of lessening your student loan burden.

FederalFederal Public Service Loan ForgivenessFull forgiveness after 120 payments
FederalFederal TEACH Grant Program$4,000 per year
FederalTeacher Loan Forgiveness Program (TLFP)Up to $17,500
FederalThe Federal Perkins Loan Teacher CancellationUp to 30% cancellation after three years
AlaskaTeacher Education Loan (TEL) ProgramUp to 100% forgiveness
ArkansasArkansas State Teacher Assistance Resource ProgramBetweeen $3,000 and $6,000 per year
DelawareCritical Need ScholarshipsUp to $1,323 for undergraduate coursework
DelawareDelaware Teacher CorpsOne year teaching one year of education forgiveness
IdahoEducation Incentive Loan ForgivenessRepayment amount variable
IllinoisIllinois Special Education Tuition Waiver ProgramRepayment amount variable
IllinoisThe Illinois Teachers and Child Care Providers Loan Repayment ProgramUp to $5,000 per year
IowaIowa Teacher Loan Forgiveness ProgramUp to 20%
KansasKansas Teacher Service ScholarshipOne year teaching one year of education forgiveness
KentuckyHigher Education Assistance Authority Teacher Scholarship Program$2,500 per semester
KentuckyMinority Educator Recruitment and Retention Scholarship$5,000 per semester
MaineEducators for Maine ProgramOne year teaching one year of education forgiveness
MarylandWorkforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant (WSSAG)Up to $19,000
MarylandJanet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP)Personal debt dictates award amount
MississippiGraduate Teacher Summer Loan/Scholarship (GTS)$125 per graduate credit earned
MississippiMississippi Teacher Loan Repayment Program (MTLR)Up to $3,000 per year
MississippiWilliam Winter Teacher Scholar Loan (WWTS)Up to $4,000 per year
MontanaQuality Educator Loan Assistance ProgramUp to $3,000 per year
NebraskaAttracting Excellence to Teaching ProgramUp to $3,000 per year
NebraskaEnhancing Excellence in Teaching ProgramUp to $3,000 per year
New MexicoNew Mexico Teacher Loan-For-Service ProgramRepayment amount variable
New YorkNew York State Math & Science Teaching Incentive ProgramUp to $5,595 per year
New YorkNYC Department of Education: Teachers for Tomorrow$3,400 per year
North DakotaSTEM Occupations Student Loan ProgramUp to $1,500 per year
North DakotaNorth Dakota University Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness ProgramUp to $1000 per year
OaklahomaTeacher Shortage Employment Incentive ProgramRepayment amount variable
South CarolinaSouth Carolina Teachers Loan ProgramUp to $3,000 per year
TennesseeTennessee Teaching Scholars ProgramRepayment amount variable
TennesseeTennessee Math & Science Teacher's Loan ForgivenessUp to $10,000 for all years of study
TexasTeach for Texas Loan Repayment Assistance ProgramMax award of $2,500
UtahT.H. Bell Teaching Incentive Loan Program (TIL)$995 per semester waiver
VirginiaVirginia Teaching Scholarship ProgramUp to $10,000 for all years of study
West VirginiaUnderwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship ProgramUp to $5,000 per year
WisconsinMinority Teacher LoanUp to $5,000 per year
WisconsinTeacher Education Loan Program50% forgiven per year
WisconsinTeacher of the Visually Impaired LoanRepayment amount variable

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