Loan forgiveness programs are processed through the entity that holds your loan. For specific questions regarding eligibility for teacher loan forgiveness, you must contact your loan holder. The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) does NOT process, approve or deny the loan forgiveness application.
The NDDPI is responsible for compiling the list of schools that are eligible for Title I and have a free and reduced lunch percentage of 30.1% or higher. Teachers employed with school buildings that have a high enough percentage of poverty (30.1%) are eligible for loan forgiveness for one year. This data is uploaded to the Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) website annually.
The Perkins and Stafford Loan Cancellation for Service in Low-Income Schools list will indicate school eligibility for teacher loan forgiveness. Please remember to use the School District's name when filling in the "location" category. The search is by School District, not by city.
Once you have determined your school is on the list for loan forgiveness, download the loan application or request one from your loan holder.
If your school has been omitted from the list and you think it should be on the list based on the requirements (eligible for Title I and free and reduced lunch percentage of 30.1 or more), please call (701) 328-2958.
Q. What factors do states use to determine if a school is eligible to be a "low income school" for the purpose of the TCLI program?
A. For a school to qualify they must meet all three requirements:
- The school must be a public or other nonprofit elementary or secondary school.
- The school must be in a school district of a Local Educational Agency (LEA) that is eligible each year for assistance under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).
- The number of children enrolled in the school who meet a measure of poverty under Section 1113(a)(f) of the ESEA must exceed 30 percent of the total enrollment of that school.
Q. The school must reside in a Local Educational Agency (LEA) that is eligible each year for assistance under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Does the school need to be receiving Title I funds or just meet eligibility?
A. The school itself does not need to be receiving Title I funding, but it must be located in a Title I eligible district to qualify for the program.
Q. How do I access the information in the TCLI Directory?
A. If you are a member of the public (such as a student, teacher, or a college) searching to see if an elementary or secondary school or an educational service agency is listed in the directory to qualify a teacher for loan cancellations or TEACH Grant service obligations, go to the Perkins and Stafford Loan Cancellation for Service in Low-Income Schools list and narrow your search by state or school name.
Q. How do I know if my loan can be forgiven or cancelled?
A. For information on how to find out if your loan can be forgiven or cancelled, and how to apply to Teacher Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Cancellation, please review the Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge link on the Federal Student Aid Website.
Q. What information do the states provide for each eligible school?
A. States provide the following information for eligible schools:
- School Name: The full name of the school
- Location: Identified by the State, County or County/District commonly used
- Grades: The grade(s) taught at the school
- Percent: Poverty percentage, based on Free Reduced numbers, must exceed 30 percent
Q. How often is the TCLI Directory updated?
A. State and Territory agencies are asked to update the TCLI Directory at least annually. However, updates are made continuously throughout the year for the reporting year, as well as past years.
Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
A. The eligibility requirements are:
- You must not have had an outstanding balance on Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans as of October 1, 1998, or on the date that you obtained a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan after October 1, 1998.
- You must have been employed as a full-time, highly qualified teacher for five complete and consecutive academic years, and at least one of those years must have been after the 1997–1998 academic year.
- You must have been employed at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves low-income students (a "low-income school or educational service agency").
- The loan(s) for which you are seeking forgiveness must have been made before the end of your five academic years of qualifying teaching service.
Q. Who is considered a teacher?
A. A teacher is a person who provides direct classroom teaching, or classroom-type teaching in a nonclassroom setting. Special education teachers are considered teachers.
Q. How much loan forgiveness can I receive?
A. The maximum forgiveness amount is either $17,500 or $5,000, depending on the subject area taught. If you have eligible loans under both the Direct Loan Program and the FFEL Program, $17,500 or $5,000 is a combined maximum forgiveness amount for both programs.
You may receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness if you were:
- a highly qualified full-time mathematics or science teacher who taught students at the secondary school level; or
- a highly qualified special education teacher (at either the elementary or secondary level) whose primary responsibility was to provide special education to children with disabilities, and you taught children with disabilities that corresponded to your area of special education training and demonstrated knowledge and teaching skills in the content areas of the curriculum that you taught.
- If you didn't teach mathematics, science, or special education, you may receive up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness if you were a highly qualified full-time elementary or secondary education teacher.
Q. How and when do I apply for teacher loan forgiveness?
A. You apply for teacher loan forgiveness by submitting a completed Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application to your loan servicer after you have completed the required five consecutive years of qualifying teaching.
The chief administrative officer of the school or educational service agency where you performed your qualifying teaching service must complete the certification section. If you are applying for forgiveness of loans that are with different loan servicers, you must submit a separate form to each of them.
Q. What is considered an academic year?
A. For purposes of the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, an academic year is defined as one complete school year at the same school, or two complete and consecutive half years at different schools, or two complete and consecutive half years from different school years (at either the same school or different schools). Half years exclude summer sessions and generally fall within a 12-month period. For schools that have a year-round program of instruction, nine months is considered an academic year.
Q. Are only teachers eligible for this program?
A. This is a teacher loan forgiveness program; therefore, it does not apply to administrators, school librarians, guidance counselors, and other administrative staff.