New and current public school teachers are eligible for federal student loan deferment and cancellations retroactive to the 2004-2005 school year, as the V.I. Department of Education has once again received approval for its designated teacher shortage area proposal, according to Human Resources Director Karen L. Blyden.
Teaching professionals who had no outstanding Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loan on July 1, 1987, but who had an outstanding FFEL program loan on July 1,1993,will qualify for deferment of loan repayment under the Federal Stafford Program anytime within the life of the their loan(s). “The proposal enables Federal Perkins Loan borrowers who are full time teachers of mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual education or any other field of expertise where the department determines there is a shortage of qualified teachers to qualify for cancellation of up to 100 percent of their loan; and further enables scholars to qualify for the reduction of teaching obligation under thePaul Douglas Teacher Scholarship Program,” said Blyden.
“While the Department has been aggressively working toward the certification of all of its teachers, a requirement of the No Child Left behind Act (NCLB), it is not necessary for the individual be certified or licensed to receive cancellation benefits. However, the department must consider you to be a full-time professional for the purposes of salary, tenure and retirement benefits,” Blyden said.
Teacher cancellations may be received for services performed in a private academy if the private academy has established its nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and if the academy is providing elementary and/or secondary education according to state law. To obtain a teaching deferment, candidates must submit a deferment form to their lender for each school year of teaching service. Teachers should contact the Division of Human Resources to get the form certified. Blyden reminds candidates that they must reapply each school year for a targeted teaching deferment.
You qualify for cancellation (discharge) of up to 100 percent of a Federal Perkins Loan if you have served full time in a public or nonprofit elementary or secondary school system as a teacher in the certain fields determined by the department to have a shortage of qualified teachers. Subjects approved and designated by the federal government as Teacher Shortage Areas for the U.S. Virgin Islands are: art, bilingual/English as a second language (ESL), elementary education, English and foreign Languages.
For more information about teaching deferments for the FFEL program, consult your promissory note and contact the lender or guarantor holding your loan, or the Division of Human Resources. Direct Loan borrowers should contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 1-800-848-0979.