Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Update on Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Out of frustration and in response to several other complaints, I promised not to stand aside, and do nothing. I have sent out 4 letters as well as emails of complaints to our representatives: one to Senator Lindsey Graham, two for North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole, and one to North Carolina Governor Michael Easley.

Here are my own words.

Dear (Representative),
I applied for the Teacher Forgiveness Loan earlier this year. My request was denied because I had an “outstanding balance,” before October of 1998. Out of the 15,000 I borrowed, only $1000 was distributed on September 16, 1998. Because some of my loans were allocated before October 1998, I was declared ineligible, although I met all of the other requirements. I was a student when my first loan was disbursed. Obviously, I was unable to pay for my studies at that time. Since working as a teacher, I have not missed one payment, but I have struggled to make ends meet financially.

The above situation applies to many teachers throughout our nation. There is an online thread of teachers that have complained for being disqualified for this forgiveness program. I also wrote about this on my blog and received many complaints. The teacher loan program should not single out a particular date. Most teachers are in the field because we love children and we desire to make a change for the future. Yet, the rewards are few.

I believe you are in a position to help change the law to include loans that were received before October 1998. This would be a step towards rewarding many well deserved teachers. I hope that you will be one of the few senators that start standing up for this nation’s teachers. I am sending a copy of this letter to North Carolina state senators.

Hopefully, you, (Representative), can lead and convince others in changing this inequitable law.


Lisa Knight

Perhaps we should all write letters of complaints. Perhaps, someone will hear us or maybe not. It is certainly worth a shot.


  • At 8:40 AM, Blogger epkaplan said…

    Just today, I have sent a letter of appeal to Sallie Mae. Both my husband and I were denied (we are both eligible for 18,500 of our loans forgiven. Sallie Mae told me that this was the standard appeal process. My mother is in politics and has suggested we also send letters to Senator Kerry, Senator Kennedy, as well as the governor.
    (We are in MASS). So glad to have found this blog!!!!

  • At 9:31 AM, Blogger Lisa said…

    I will also send my letter to Kerry and Kennedy. Thanks for the head's up.

    Here's a response from the Governor Easley's office:

    Dear Ms. Knight:

    Thank you for your correspondence regarding the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. I am responding on behalf of Governor Easley.

    We appreciate your contacting us to express your concerns about the policies set forth that govern the federally administered Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. On behalf of teachers; our office has been in correspondence with the US Department of Education, who directly administers this program, on numerous occasions to determine if there is any leeway in terms of the date. We have been notified that the date set is a firm one.

    You were correct to also contact your state Senators to apprise them of this matter. In addition, you may wish to share your grievances with your Congressman so that they will also be aware of the issues you and other teachers raise regarding the policies.

    Thank you again for contacting our office. We appreciate all you do to support the students in our public schools.


    Kristi Tally, Governor's Education Office

  • At 3:39 AM, Blogger helen said…

    I am not a teacher personally but I was a student once and know how hard it is getting by, especially when you need help from government agencies. I don't know if it is of any benefit Lisa, but have you looked at price comparison websites like eComparison
    to see if you can reduce your monthly outgoings at all?

  • At 9:56 AM, Blogger paige said…

    I was denied my loan forgiveness for the same reason, I received $1,000 in September 1998! I have been teaching 9 years in a qualifying school because that is where my heart is.
    I went back to college to finish my last 2 years after having 6 children and staying home for 14 years! There must be something more teachers can do. I tach in Oklahoma, one of the lowest paid in the US. I am not asking for much, but would greatly appreciate $5,000 off of my loans for doing a job many don't want to do!

  • At 10:40 AM, Blogger Jessica said…

    Yes! I'm so glad I found this post! I was denied for the same reason - and I should otherwise be eligible for $17,500 of forgiveness. To me, it's also in the interpretation of the word "outstanding" - which isn't defined anywhere I could find in the law. To me, outstanding means to be in need of repayment - obviously if one is a still a student, their balance wouldn't be outstanding. Either way, the whole thing sucks. I'm also in NC and will be following up with my own letter to all our gov't folks!

  • At 8:44 PM, Blogger garyoke said…


    I was looking for other people who were in the same situation as I was with Sallie Mae concerning the Federal Teacher Loan Program. Did you hear anything back from Sallie Mae or US Department of Education? I was denied because of loans dispersed prior to the January 1 1998 date (My degree program went from Sept. 97 to June 2002).

  • At 3:11 PM, Blogger danielle said…

    Could someone help me know how to submit an application to Sallie Mae? I've looked all through their website and sent them an email, but I'm not sure where to even mail the completed application. Any ideas you guys have would b so helpful!

  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger Liz said…

    Lisa I am in a similar situation. I would like to voice my opinion but don't know who to write. I live in Florida. Who should I contact about this?

  • At 11:33 AM, Blogger Will's Mommy said…

    I just got off the phone with Sallie Mae. I too was denied for the same reason. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions on how to fight this? I am so frustrated!

  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger Joe said…

    I was denied loan forgiveness today for the same reason. I have a problem with the timeframe as well. Most of us attended college before the new teacher loan forgiveness was signed into law on Oct. 7, 1998. Either they did it on purpose to exclude the people who started college in 1998 or we should be able to apply for the previous student loan forgiveness plan.

    I found a website that had some information about loan forgiveness for individuals who are public service workers.

    TEACHING/EMPLOYMENT CANCELLATIONS - Loans on or after 7/23/92:

    In addition to the teaching cancellations mentioned above, a borrower may be eligible to cancel all or a portion of their loan as follows:

    A full-time special education teacher, including teachers of infants, toddlers, children, or youth with disabilities in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school system.
    A full-time teacher in a public or other non-profit elementary or secondary school in the fields of mathematics, science, foreign languages, or bilingual education or in any other field of expertise that is determined by a state education agency to have a shortage of qualified teachers in that state.
    A full-time nurse or medical technician providing health care services.
    A full-time qualified professional provider of early intervention services in a public or other nonprofit program under public supervision.,
    A full-time employee of an eligible public or private nonprofit child or family service agency who is providing or supervising the provision of services to both high-risk children who are from low-income communities and the families of such children. The children must be the primary recipients of the services.
    PLEASE NOTE:The Higher Education Amendments of 1988, signed into law on October 7, 1998, extend the above cancellation benefits to borrowers whose NDSL / Perkins loans were issued prior to July 23, 1992. The Teaching / Employment cancellations are in addition to the others listed in your promissory note but cannot be granted for service performed prior to October 7, 1998. The cancellation rate is as follows:
    15% of the original principal loan amount and accrued interest for the first and second years of service.
    20% of the original principal loan amount and accrued interest for the third and fourth years of service.
    30% of the original principal loan amount and accrued interest for the fifth year of service.
    Eligibility - Federal Perkins loans made on or after July 23, 1992 or NDSL / Perkins loans made on or before July 23, 1992 for service performed beginning October 7, 1998
    Maximum Amount Canceled - Up to 100%

  • At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow! I just got denied today and was very confused. They do not market the loan forgiveness with this disclaimer. I thought "outstanding" meant you had late payments as well. This is so unfair! Guess it is just a loop hole. I am going to look into writing my representatives.

  • At 12:55 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I'm in California. I too was denied for having a loan in Oct 1998. I believe Joe said it loud and clear. They had it set up and since the economy is the way it is; I doubt we will be seeing any amount to be forgiven. Very upsetting and frustrating. I did find another website: www.IBRinfo.org
    It's suppose to give you a lower payment and hopefully wipe off the rest after 10 years. Good luck everyone!

  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I found a website that may help some of us:


    Good luck everyone!

    I too was denied for a loan of $1,200. I wondered if I pay that loan off, and reapply will they wipe off the $17,500 of my loan. Just curious.

  • At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am in the same boat. Missed the deadline by 5 days, but that doesn't dismiss my service in a low-income school, teaching Science for more than five years. I am going to fight it though. Five days shouldn't keep me from such aid. It's ridiculous. All teachers are important, not just recent graduates. They take teachers for granted.

  • At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've written my legislators also, I had a previous balance under $1000, fine, take that off of my loan forgiveness, but don't just throw the whole thing out. I was always told when I made a career change to special education I would qualify for loan forgiveness when finished as long as I taught in special education for 5 years, well I will begin my 5th year this fall and my hope is fading. :(

  • At 1:20 AM, Anonymous Kim Robel said…

    Well, I am in good company. I find the whole thing to be a financial racket. It seems Sallie Mae is the big boss. I, too, started school before the Oct. '98 date, and was denied for the exact same reason. Did anyone get anywhere with the appeal process that Sallie Mae supposedly has? I couldn't even find a way to appeal it. I am angry for all of us. I know some of you wrote these posts long ago, but I'm sure the payments still burn when you make them.
    We should start a Facebook movement or something.

  • At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Susan Swanger said…

    I have sent in the loan forgiveness application four times. Paperwork kept getting lost.
    In the meantime, I have started a White House Petition drive- if you are interested, please go to the white house site and electronically sign the petition to forgive teacher loans,https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/forgive-teacher-loans/LD0PFV4B?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

  • At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anne said…

    Hello All my name is Anne and I too am in the same situation as many of you. I just today received a letter from Sallie Mae saying that I didn't qualify because of my loans disbursements happened prior to the October 1, 1998 date. I taught both in qualifying schools in California and Maine and also taught Special Education for two years. I submitted a very large package to Sallie Mae outlining my entire history in teaching which also included running educational programs for Non-profit organizations in both California and Maine for many many many years. I left California in 2003 due to a family medical emergency and left a very good position which I would have watched my salary increase and would be high on the payscale as I already held a masters degree in a needy area and used this degree prior to ascertaining my teaching credential. I spent long hours and tons of my own money in all of my classrooms as have many of you! Its time that we as educators be supported in the teaching of children in America. I have paid and paid and do not and cannot have children of my own. Its was this reason that I got into education so that I could be there for all children! Joe above mentioned a website but didn't say what the site was. Also does anyone know how to appeal to Sallie Mae. I have in the past revceived letters from the New York Department of Education when I have been in financial hardship so I may submit a letter of appeal there as well as to Sallie Mae. I am not giving up on this as I have given to so many and now its my turn. Since leaving CA my salary went down down down down as Maine couldn't support the same salary schedule. I am now in NH and at the prersent time I'm no longer in education as I am frustrated putting in all the time and being treated so unfairly! Anyone have any suggestions about what we can do to fix this for all of us who got the same response to our request for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness!!!

  • At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where can I look further into this? Is there a website?

  • At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is there a website to further investigate this? Are you saying loans taken out prior to 1998 could be covered for forgiveness?


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