Teacher Shortage - Loan Forgiveness

When considering the best options for student loan repayment, the resources below may be helpful.

Teacher Cancelation Low Income Directory (TCLI) Directory

The Teacher Cancelation Low Income Directory(TCLI) is the list of  elementary schools, secondary schools, and educational service agencies (ESA) that qualify as low-income for the purposes of the federal student aid programs (e.g., Federal Family Education Loan Teacher Loan Forgiveness; Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH Grant Program; Federal Perkins Loan/National Direct Student Loan Cancelation)

The U. S. Department of Education annually designates teacher shortage areas for the purposes of deferment of loan repayments or reductions of teaching obligation. As part of a federal requirement, the Maine Department of Education submits to the U.S. Department of Education eligible schools and education service agencies based on collected data and public input for inclusion in the TCLI Directory. 

To qualify for loan forgiveness or cancelation, or to satisfy the TEACH Grant service obligation, the teaching service of a borrower or grant recipient must be performed at a school or educational service agency that is listed on the TCLI Directory. For questions about the designated shortage areas contact Daniel WeeksTitle III and V Coordinator, daniel.r.weeks@maine.gov 

To view the list of qualifying Maine schools and educational service agencies by year, follow the link to the Federal Student Aid TCLI Directory website and search by each year you were/are employed at a Maine school. 

Understanding Loan Forgiveness  

Differences Between Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge

The terms forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge mean nearly the same thing, but they’re used in different ways. If you’re no longer required to make payments on your loans due to your job, this is generally called forgiveness or cancellation. If you’re no longer required to make payments on your loans due to other circumstances, such as a total and permanent disability or the closure of the school where you received your loans, this is generally called discharge. Follow this link to the Federal Student Aid Glossary for additional information. 

It’s important to remember that outside of the circumstances that may qualify you to have your loans forgiven, canceled, or discharged, you remain responsible for repaying your loan—whether or not you complete your education, find a job related to your program of study, or are happy with the education you paid for with your loan. Even if you were a minor (under the age of 18) when you signed your promissory note or received the loan, you are still responsible for repaying your loan.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a school or educational service agency listed on a TCLI directory during the years you taught, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 on your Direct Consolidated Loans or Federal Consolidated Loans. Follow this link to learn more about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you are employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization, you might be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

PSLF forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

 For more information, follow this link to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation 

Federal Perkins Loan cancellation is based on eligible employment or eligible volunteer service and the length of time that you were in such a position. Discharge of your Perkins Loan may occur under certain circumstances. To learn more, follow this link to Perkins Loan Cancellation or Discharge.


A Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant is different from other federal student grants because it requires you to agree to complete a teaching service obligation as a condition for receiving the grant, and if you don't complete the service obligation, the TEACH Grant will be converted to a loan that you must repay, with interest. Follow this link to learn more about the TEACH Grant.

 Educators for Maine Program  

Established in Maine law, the Educators for Maine Program is a competitive, merit-based, forgivable loan for Maine students pursuing careers in education, speech pathology, or child care and planning to work in Maine after graduation. The Educators for Maine Program is administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). To learn more follow this link to FAME's Educators for Maine Program.