Loan Forgiveness Programs for California Teachers
The California program that repaid teachers for their student loans — known as the Assumption Program of Loans for Education or APLE — was designed to encourage teachers and teachers-in-training to relocate and teach in underserved public schools and subject area.
The APLE program forgave up to $11,000 in student loans in exchange for four years of teaching at eligible schools. Teachers in the program must work full-time and with no breaks in service. A graduating teacher had to complete his or her first year of teaching within 24 to 36 months of graduation.
An additional $8,000 of teacher loan forgiveness was available for the following teachers:
- An additional $1,000 per year ($4,000 max) for teaching special education, science, and math.
- An increase from $1,000 to $2,000 per year ($8,000 max) if the school is in the bottom 20% of California's API score.
Eligible schools included those with a high concentration of low-income students, low test scores, and high levels of emergency credentialed teachers. Rural and special state schools also were eligible. Eligible subject areas included special education, English, math, foreign languages, and science.
The APLE program still technically exists, but no new applications have been accepted for the program since the 2011-2012 school year. However, there are several other avenues that California teachers can consider when looking for student loan forgiveness in exchange for teaching in underserved areas or subjects.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, this program, like APLE, is intended to encourage college students to enter and stay in the teaching profession.
If you teach full-time for five years in underserved elementary and secondary schools (including all schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education), and you meet other specific requirements, you become eligible for up to $17,500 in forgiveness for your direct subsidized and unsubsidized student loans, including Federal Stafford Loans. You can't apply for the program until you have completed five full years of teaching.
Both new teachers and teachers who have been in the classroom for some time are eligible to participate in the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. However, those with only federal PLUS Loans are not eligible for loan forgiveness under this program. In addition, school administrators are not eligible. Those participating must be full-time teachers in underserved schools.
Finally, some teachers with loans from the Federal Perkins Loan Program who are teaching in underserved schools or subject areas may be eligible to have their loans forgiven. This program also offers loan deferment for certain teachers. For more information, contact the school that made your loan.
Other Loan Repayment Programs for Teachers
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on Federal Direct Loans after 10 years. You don't have to be a teacher to qualify, and if you are, you don't have to teach at a low-income or public school.
But most people employed as full-time elementary and secondary school teachers will qualify for this program. It requires you have Direct Loans, and you have to make consecutive payments for ten years to be eligible.
The Perkins Loan cancellation program for teachers forgives up to 100 percent of Federal Perkins loans for those teaching full time at low-income schools, or, who teach certain subjects.