Frequently Asked Questions - FFEL Deferments, Forbearance, Forgiveness
If I consolidated my loans after October 1, 1998, can I have them cancelled through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program?
If you had taken out your first federal student loan after 10/1/98, then FFEL and Direct loans that are included in your consolidation are eligible for cancellation under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. Keep in mind; Perkins loans that are consolidated lose their Teacher Loan Forgiveness Cancellation Benefit.
Can a Parent receive an in-school deferment on their PLUS loan based on the student being enrolled at least half-time?
Yes, if the PLUS loan was first disbursed on or after 7/1/08.
One of the requirements to qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness is that you had no outstanding balance on a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan or a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan on October 1, 1998, or had no outstanding balance on a FFEL or Direct Loan Program loan on the date you obtained a loan after October 1, 1998. How can I check my loan history to see if I meet this requirement?
You can review your FFEL and Direct Loan history by visiting the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS
) Web site, which is the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student aid.
I have become disabled during military service. Can I have my FFEL loans discharged?
Yes, if it has been determined by the department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that you are totally disabled and unemployable due to a service connected condition or disability.
You may apply for loan discharge by providing to your loan holder a properly completed total and permanent disability (TPD) loan discharge application.
You will also need to send a copy of the VA Rating Decision or a letter from the VA confirming the disability determination.
No additional documentation will be required to establish your eligibility for TPD discharge.
I am a qualified full-time special education teacher in my first year of teaching at a low-income designated school that receives Title 1 benefits and I have an outstanding Stafford loan balance of $12,000. Must I make monthly payments to my lender until I am eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness upon completion of my fifth year of teaching?
Not necessarily. At the request of a borrower, a lender/loan holder must grant forbearance during each of a borrower’s five years of qualifying teaching service if the lender believes that the forgiveness amount will pay the borrower’s entire loan balance. As a special education teacher, a borrower may be eligible to receive up to $17,500.
Any interest that accrues during the forbearance period may be capitalized.
The forbearance is granted in 12 month increments and the borrower must reapply each year.
Can a borrower with a defaulted FFEL loan qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness?
Yes. If a borrower is in default of a FFEL loan(s), they can become eligible for forgiveness if they have made satisfactory repayment arrangements with the holder of the defaulted loan(s). Arrangements may include making a number of consecutive, on-time, monthly payments.
If a Parent PLUS borrower is deferring payments on their FFEL PLUS loans based on their own enrollment at an eligible post-secondary institution, must regular monthly payments resume immediately after they cease to meet in-school requirements?
Not necessarily. For loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/2008, Parent PLUS borrowers may, upon request, defer those loans for the six-month period following the date they ceased to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis
A Stafford Loan borrower has been teaching full-time for five consecutive, complete school years at an elementary or secondary school. Is there a Web site a borrower could access to find out if the school qualifies as a designated low-income school for Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) purposes before they apply for TLF?
To find out whether the school is considered a low-income school, the student can visit the Teacher Cancellation Low Income Directory,
or he or she may call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
If a student borrows a Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan (GPPL), is the loan eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF)?
No. GPPL and Parent PLUS loans are not eligible for TLF. Loans that are eligible for forgiveness are Federal Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized), Federal Direct Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized), and any portion of a Federal Consolidation Loan or Federal Direct Consolidation Loan that was used to pay off an eligible Federal Stafford Loan or Direct Loan.
I taught special education for four consecutive years at a school that qualified for Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF). However, the school closed and the following year my students and I were transferred to a new school. How does this affect my eligibility?
Your teaching service at the new school could be considered as being a part of the five consecutive years teaching requirement as long as the school is included on the U. S. Department of Education’s list of eligible TLF schools.
A teacher completed their 5 year teaching requirement but is no longer teaching at the Title 1 school or is no longer a teacher when their last loan is made (fully disbursed). Would that person qualify for teacher loan forgiveness?
Yes, but only on their outstanding loan balance made (disbursed) prior to the completion of their fifth year of teaching.
Must a borrower request a forbearance in writing?
A borrower and lender may agree to a forbearance verbally, without the need for a written agreement. If verbal, the lender must send a notice about the terms of the agreement to the borrower, and update the borrower's file.
I graduated from community college and then was deployed to Iraq for a year. I am now stationed back in the States. Do I qualify for the new Military Deferment?
If all your loans were disbursed on or after July 1, 2001, you may qualify for a military deferment of up to three years. Contact your lender to obtain a deferment request form.
I am enlisted in the Navy and currently on active military duty stationed at Norfolk Naval Station. My loans are in default. Do I need to make payments to HESC at this time?
Per the HEROES Act, collection of defaulted loans is waived during the time you are serving on active duty during a war or military operation only if your assigned duty station (Norfolk) is not the location at which you are normally assigned.
Can I use teaching service from two different schools to complete the five-year teaching service requirement to qualify for the teacher loan forgiveness program?
Yes, as long as the eligible borrower has been employed as a full-time teacher for five consecutive complete academic years.
A teacher has applied for teacher loan forgiveness. Her first Stafford Loan was received in 1996 and another was approved in 1997. These loans were paid in full on October 10, 2004. The teacher then received a new Stafford Loan on October 14, 2004. Is this loan eligible for the teacher loan forgiveness program?
The payment of all outstanding loans on October 10, 2004 re-established the borrower’s status as a “new borrower” for teacher loan forgiveness purposes. The October 14 loan would be eligible for forgiveness if it was received before the end of the borrower's fifth year of qualifying teaching.
Can a student who takes out his first loan on or after July 1, 1993, and subsequently joins the Peace Corps qualify for an economic hardship deferment?
Yes. A Peace Corps volunteer with loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 1993, may now provide the lender/servicer with a signed and dated Economic Hardship Deferment Request form (HRD), and documentation from the Peace Corps showing that the borrower will be serving as a Peace Corps volunteer. Lenders are no longer required to gather financial data before granting an economic hardship deferment to borrowers serving in the Peace Corps. Borrowers with loans first disbursed prior to July 1, 1993, will continue to apply for a deferment for service in the Peace Corps by completing the Public Service Deferment Request form (PUB).
How does forbearance effect the 10-year repayment period?
Forbearance does not count toward the 10-year repayment period.
Who is eligible to have their loans forgiven under the teacher loan forgiveness program established by the 1998 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act?
Only a new borrower who received a FFELP loan for which the first disbursement was made on or after October 1, 1998 is eligible to have their loans forgiven by the Department of Education under this program. This program is for full-time teachers who have been employed for five consecutive years in a designated low income school; i.e., Title I.
Are correspondence schools considered eligible institutes for the purposes of an in-school deferment?
Only if their eligibility is established by the U.S. Department of Education, or if they were previously eligible and their eligibility was lost due to a high cohort default rate.
How is a lender to know that a student wants an in-school deferment?
A student can make a verbal or written request and submit supporting documentation. In addition, a lender can grant an in-school deferment based on a completed loan application, or student status information which confirms that the student is enrolled at least half time.
Is registering with an employment agency a requirement to obtain an unemployment deferment? Is a lender required to get the names of six contacts from all applicants for an unemployment deferment?
The borrower may provide a written certification to the lender stating he/she has registered with a public or private agency if one is available to the borrower within a 50-mile radius of the borrower’s current address, and, for all requests beyond the initial request the borrower has made six diligent attempts during the preceding 6-month period to secure full-time employment. The borrower may not qualify for an unemployment deferment if the borrower refuses to seek or accept employment in a position or at a salary or responsibility level for which the borrower feels over-qualified.