The role of a teacher isn’t one that’s known for being a lucrative position. However, there are many ways that teachers can improve their financial position that they may not know about. Decreasing outgoing funds is just as important as increasing incoming funds and is an option that should not be overlooked.
When it comes to making the most of their financial situation and student loans, the most important thing that teacher’s should remember is to keep all of their receipts and other financial records. They are the ones who are responsible for proving their financial position so that they can meet the qualifications for some of the programs listed below.
Student Loan Income Based Payments: Student loans can take a large portion of a teacher’s income. That’s why student loan consolidation is important as well as basing loan payments on income. Loan repayment plans aren’t based just on the amount of the loan anymore. Now, they are based on income and dependents as well. This means that teachers can make payments that fit their financial world.
Teacher’s Student Loan Forgiveness: Teachers can now have part of their student loans “forgiven” as long as they meet the requirements set forth. Teachers who teach for 5 consecutive years in public schools that meet the requirements for student loan forgiveness might be eligible for up to $17,500 worth of student loan forgiveness. Teacher’s must not be in default on any of their student loans. Keep in mind that teachers who use the income calculator to determine their student loans may be eligible for student loan forgiveness even if their determined monthly payment has been $0 for the past 5 years that they have been teaching.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Those who work as public servants, including teachers in public education and early childhood may be eligible for complete student loan forgiveness. If you keep up on your payments for 10 years and work in public service, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness for the remaining amount of your student loans. The key here is that you must make your payments on time and work in the public service field for 10 years or 120 payments. Again, keep in mind that you are considered current on your payments even if your calculated payment is $0 a month for those 10 years.
In the end, if you use each of these resources, the limited teacher’s salary that you earn may actually work to your benefit. Consider how much you have in student loans. If your salary and your dependent status keep you in a low income range, you could very well pay nothing on your student loans and have them completely paid off in 10 years. It may not be a salary increase, but it does mean that you get to keep more of your salary than you would have if you hadn’t used these resources.
Of course, you are concerned with more than just your student loans. If you’re a teacher, chances are pretty good that you are spending your own money to benefit your classroom or that you need money or items for your class.
Don’t forget to save your receipts for the funds that you have spent on classroom supplies. You can deduct these amounts from your taxes at the end of the year, leaving you with less taxable income.
You might also want to look into a site called DonorsChoose.org. This is a site for educators to have an opportunity to get the items they need for their classroom. Teachers post a proposed a idea for their classroom. They may be asked to explain why they need the item or why the school itself does not fund the item. Donors review the projects and decide which projects they would like to fund. In my own small school district, at least 2 classrooms have benefited from this group.