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Opinion Loan forgiveness is already available


Ayindé Rudolph’s Sept. 10 op-ed, “Who would truly benefit from loan forgiveness? Teachers.,” failed to note that several major federal programs are already in place to lighten student borrowers’ debt burdens, especially for teachers.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program entirely forgives federal direct loans balances after 10 years of qualifying income-based payments. This important loan forgiveness program is available to any borrower who works for a governmental or nonprofit entity for 10 years.

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program cancels up to $17,500 of Federal Direct or Federal Family Education Loans after five years of complete and consecutive years of teaching at a low-income school as defined by the state.

The Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation forgives up to 100 percent of a specific type of loan for five years of full-time teaching at a low-income school or in teacher-shortage subject areas as defined by the state.

Finally, the federal TEACH Grant Program provides up to $4,000 annually in grants to students planning to teach as a career. Recipients must agree to four years of full-time teaching in a low-income school in an eight-year period after graduation; otherwise the grant reverts to a federal direct loan.

A trove of information on these and other opportunities to support teachers is available from the Education Department and from colleges and universities that participate in the aid programs.

Kathleen G. Wicks, Reston

The writer is a former program manager for the Pell Grant, Campus-Based and Direct Loan Programs at Federal Student Aid in the U.S. Department of Education.