There are 5 major ways the government rewards us lovely people who teach. I’ve been surprised how many teachers I’ve talked to who don’t know about any of the ways or maybe only one out of the five. These are huge ways to make your teaching income go a lot further.
Buy A House For Half Price!
Through the Good Neighbor Next Door program, teachers (as well as law enforcement, firefighters and medical technicians) can get 50% off the list price of certain homes.
Why such a sweet deal? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) back some mortgages for people who meet certain qualifications. When these HUD loans go into foreclosure the government is left with a property that they need to sell and reclaim some of their investment on.
The government has taken this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. They can sell this property and revitalize certain neighborhoods with good neighbors like us teachers.
To qualify, the home must be in a revitalization area, it must be the teacher’s first home purchase and the teacher must live there for 36 months. Click here to get all of the details on the program.
Just think of the possibilities, you could live in an already discounted house for ½ off then convert it to a rental after 36 months and bring in an extra income! If you teach in the same neighborhood, there’s a good chance you’ll qualify for one of the following loan forgiveness programs too!
State-Specific Student Loan Forgiveness
Every state needs teachers and some have a much more difficult time requiting them. For this reason, different states offer incentives to bring more teachers into their state. Connecticut gives mortgage assistance to teachers. Teachers in some New York City schools can receive an award of $3,400 per year for up to four years. Click here to see what might be available in your state.
Perkins Loan Cancellation
If you received a Federal Perkins Loan you might be able to get your entire loan (plus interest) canceled. This is available for teachers working in certain loan-income districts. Click here to check if your school qualifies. You might be surprised to find out it does.
But what if you don’t teach in a low-income district? You might still qualify if you teach math, science, foreign language, bilingual, special education or any other high need area identified by your state.
The program cancels the loan in steps.
15% canceled in years 1 and 2
20% canceled in years 3 and 4
30% canceled in year 5
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
If you have Federal student loans (that aren’t Perkins loans) you might be able to have portions of your loans forgiven.
To qualify for this program you must have taught 5 years at an eligible school after 1998. You can qualify for this every time you complete a 5 year cycle at an eligible school. Plus if you did qualify a long time ago but didn’t know about the program or forgot to fill out the forms you can still go back and do that now.
Depending on your teaching position you could get $5,000 to $17,500 forgiven from your loans. Click here to get all of the details on the program.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you haven’t qualified for the other loan forgiveness options yet, this one might be the one for you. You don’t have to work at a low-income school to receive this loan forgiveness. Plus you don’t have to be a teacher. If you have a spouse who is also a public employee they can have their loans forgiven too.
To qualify for this program you have to make payments on your loans for 10 consecutive years. Miss one payment? You’ll have to start all over. Then at the end of 10 years the government will forgive the remaining balance on your Federal student loans.
To make this one work you have to choose the right loan repayment program. If you do a standard repayment, your loan will probably be paid off in 10 years and you’ll have nothing left to forgive. Instead you need to choose a different repayment plan that lowers your payments. An income driven repayment plan will do this BUT if your payments are $0 then it doesn’t count toward your consecutive payments.
Teaching salaries often aren’t that impressive, especially when you’re just starting out. By making a few wise decisions in the beginning, you can greatly reduce your personal debt and make your teaching salary go much further.
What are other ways you’ve found to stretch your teaching salary? Comment below to tell us about it!