The Perkins Loan Forgiveness Program was the first to provide for cancellation of loans for teachers in low-income school districts.
A 2005 Second Circuit decision broadened the Perkins Loan Forgiveness Program to include numerous occupations related to teaching, public interest law and social work. Since the Second Circuit decision, the Department of Education has clarified its position in a "Dear Colleague letter" explaining that the program has indeed expanded to include numerous occupations that are considered socially desirable professions.
A short list of covered occupations include:
Borrowers must perform uninterrupted service for a specific length of time to qualify for a Perkins loan discharge. However, the Department of Education has waived the continuous service requirement for borrowers who are members of the military reserves or who are regular active duty members of the Armed Forces.
It is important to note that borrowers lose access to Perkins Loan Forgiveness Program if they consolidate their loans with "Direct Loans."
Read the following documents for more information:
De La Mota v. U.S. Dep't of Educ., 412 F. 3d 71 (2d Cir. 2005)
U.S. Dep't of Educ., Child or Family Service Loan Cancellation Benefit in the Federal Perkins Loan Program, Dear Colleague Letter GEN-05-15 (Oct. 19, 2005); 34 C.F.R. § 674.56(b).
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