Maine Loan Programs - Payment Forgiveness

The State of Maine offers certain repayment benefits and loan forgiveness in return for providing services in the related profession to Maine communities. Click the appropriate section below for details on each loan program.

 

Educators For Maine

As an Educators for Maine (EFM) Loan Program recipient, you may be eligible to have one year’s loan forgiven for each year of return service  as a full time teacher, including speech pathologist, employed by a Maine public school or Maine private school approved for tuition purposes at the elementary or secondary levels or an elementary or secondary school operated by the State of Maine or as a Jobs for Maine’s Graduates specialist with appropriate teacher certification or as a qualified child care provider in a childcare facility. In addition, two years’ worth of your loan may be forgiven for each year that you are a full-time teacher in an eligible Maine school working in an underserved subject area.

 

Partial loan forgiveness is also available on a prorated basis under certain circumstances. Contact FAME for details.

 

Who Qualifies for Forgiveness?

Teachers who meet the following qualifications:

  • Certified by the Maine Department of Education;
  • Employed at a Maine public elementary or secondary school, a Maine private elementary or secondary school that has been approved for tuition purposes, or a state-operated school;
  • Employed as a Jobs for Maine's Graduates specialist with appropriate teacher certification;
  • Employed as an elementary or secondary teacher, specialized subject teacher, vocational or industrial arts teacher including the following; unless modified by law:
    • Classroom Teacher
    • Itinerant Teacher
    • Guidance Counselor
    • Librarian-Media Specialist
    • Special Education Teacher
    • Special Teacher of Reading
    • Speech Pathologist/Therapist
    • Chapter 1 Tutor

Child care providers who received a degree or certificate from a child care development program, such as:

  • Child development
  • Early childhood education
  • Early childhood development
  • Health and human services, with a focus on early childhood
  • Special education from birth to five years
  • Other similar programs, as determined by FAME
  • Employed at a child care facility, defined as:
    • a house or other place in which a person provides care and protection for compensation for 13 or more children under 13 years of age; or
    • a location or locations operated as a single child care program or by a person or persons when there are more than 12 children being cared for; or
    • home day care in which a person provides day care in that person's home on a regular basis for compensation for three to 12 children under 13 years of age who are not the children of the provider.

In addition, return service must begin within five years of graduation from an institution of higher education or completion of certification coursework.

 

How do I request forgiveness?

Once you obtain a qualifying teaching or child care position, you must submit documentation to FAME for a review of your forgiveness eligibility. 

  • Proof of teacher certification from the state of Maine.
  • Teachers must provide a signed school employment contract. 
  • Jobs for Maine's Graduates specialist must provide a signed school employment contract.
  • Child care providers must provide a letter of employment and copy of college transcript showing evidence of an appropriate degree or certificate. 

 

FAME will review your documentation to determine eligibility of the return service position and will notify you of initial approval. The Educators for Maine loan will be placed in non-repayment status while you are employed in a return service position.

 

At or near the end of your first year of return service, FAME will send you an employment verification form which must be completed and returned to FAME in order to begin processing forgiveness of your loan

 

How do I qualify for additional loan forgiveness?

Two year’s worth of your loan may be forgiven for each year that you are a full-time teacher in an eligible Maine school working in an underserved subject area.

Currently, the underserved subject areas for Maine are:

  • Teachers of English as a Second Language
  • Teachers of Foreign Languages including French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Latin, and German
  • Teachers of Science and Mathematics
  • Speech and Hearing Clinicians
  • Teachers of Technology Education/Industrial Arts
  • Teachers of Special Education (Birth to five years and through grade 12)
  • Teachers of Gifted/Talented Students
  • Librarians

 

Please Note: Underserved subject areas are determined by the U.S. Department of Education and may change each year.

 

What other things should I know?

Forgiveness for a child care position can only be granted to a borrower who has received a certificate or degree in Early Childhood Education, or another similar degree. Therefore, a borrower with a degree in elementary or secondary education cannot receive forgiveness for a child care position. 

 

Partial loan forgiveness may be available if you are working part-time and meet all other requirements. You must be employed on at least a 20% basis, based on a 10-month academic year or a five day work week.

 

Most Education Technician positions are not eligible for loan forgiveness. However, if you are working in a Chapter 1 program, you may be eligible. Please contact FAME for more information.

 

What if I am not eligible for forgiveness and I have to repay my loan?

If you do not qualify for the loan forgiveness option, you must repay the amount of the loan, including principal and interest, to FAME. Repayment must be completed according to the terms specified in your promissory note.  Loan repayment will begin six months following the month you graduate, complete your coursework or withdraw.  

 

What if I am having difficulty making my monthly payments?

If you are experiencing difficulty making your monthly payment, be sure to contact FAME to discuss alternative payment arrangements. A deferment may be granted in certain limited circumstances, including:

  • Returning to school at least half-time
  • Financial hardship or unemployment
  • Participation in a national volunteer service position
  • Employed as an Education Technician

 

Maine Health Professions Loan Program (loans on or after 1/1/11)

 

Maine Health Professions Loan Program recipients whose first program loan was made on or after January 1, 2011 receive a need-based, low interest rate loan.  The program is for

 

Maine residents pursuing postgraduate medical, dental and veterinary education.

 

Maine Health Professions Loan Program Repayment Chart

 

For qualifying borrower with an initial program loan made on or after January 1, 2011:

 

 

Practice Type and Location Annual Interest Rate
Primary care physicians and general dentists practicing at least 20 hours/week in a HPSA in Maine 0%
Veterinarians practicing in areas of Maine with insufficient veterinary services and providing at least 20 hours/week of veterinary services to livestock 0%
Primary care physicians and general dentists attending to patients at least 20 hours/week in a non-HPSA in Maine; any physician attending to patients at least 20 hours/week in an underserved specialty in Maine; any physician attending to patients in an underserved population group in Maine at least 20 hours/week 3%
Practicing in Maine, but not subject to 1, 2, or 3 5%
Not practicing in Maine or withdrew from professional education 8%

 

Note: Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), underserved specialties and underserved groups are as determined by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

 

What else should I know?

Deferments during the repayment period may be granted by the chief executive officer at FAME.  A deferment will not ordinarily be granted for a period greater than a year and may be granted to the borrower in anticipation of an eligible return service position or for documented financial hardship due to returning to school, loss or reduction of work hours, temporary disability.

 

Students who obtained their first program loan prior to January 1, 2011 are subject to different provisions that can be reviewed below at Maine Health Professions Loan Program (loans before 1/1/11).  

 

Maine Health Professions Loan Program (loans before 1/1/11)

Certain Maine Health Professions Loan Program recipients may be granted loan forgiveness. The rate of forgiveness is based on location and type of practice and/or population served. Maine Health Professions Loans, plus interest, must be repaid if a loan recipient is not an eligible physician, or practices outside of Maine. If the loan recipient returns to Maine but does not enter an eligible practice, the loan will have to be repaid with interest at 1.5% below the Stafford Loan Rate over a ten-year period. If the loan recipient does not return to Maine to practice, the loan will have to be repaid with interest at 1.5% above the Stafford Loan rate over a ten-year period.

 

Maine Health Professions Loan Program Forgiveness Chart

 

For qualifying borrowers with an initial program loan made prior to January 1, 2011:

 

 

Complete a Maine primary care residency and practice primary care in a health care professional shortage area or providing services to an underserved group. 50% forgiveness of original total loan amount for each full year of practice.
Complete a Maine primary care residency and practice primary care anywhere in Maine. 25% forgiveness of original total loan amount for each year of such practice.

Primary care physicians and general dentists practicing in a designated health care professional shortage area.

 

Any physician practicing in an underserved specialty.

 

Any physician providing services to a designated underserved group.

 

Veterinarians providing services to Maine residents with insufficient veterinary services.

 

25% forgiveness of original total loan amount or $7,500 for each full year of practice, whichever is greater.
Primary care practice in Maine not covered above. 12.5% forgiveness of original total loan amount or $3,750 for each full year of practice, whichever is greater.
Non-eligible practice in Maine. No forgiveness.10-year repayment period with interest accruing.  Interest rate is 1.5% below Stafford Loan Rate in effect at time of first loan approval.
Out-of-state practice. No forgiveness.10-year repayment period with interest accruing. Interest rate is 1.5% above Stafford Loan Rate in effect at time of first loan approval.

 

 

Deferments during the repayment period may be granted by the chief executive officer at FAME. A deferment will not ordinarily be granted for a period greater than a year and may be granted to the borrower in anticipation of an eligible return service position or for documented financial hardship due to returning to school, loss or reduction of work hours, temporary disability.

 

Borrowers who obtained their first program loan prior to January 1, 2011 are subject to different provisions.

 

 

Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program (for recipients who have not commenced veterinary education prior to 1/1/11)

Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program recipients must not have commenced veterinary medicine education prior to January 1, 2011 to be eligible to receive a need-based forgivable loan to help defray the cost of enrollment in a program of study leading to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.   For doctors who conclude postgraduate veterinary medical training, return service may cancel all or part of the loan as indicated in the repayment chart below.

 

Maine Veterinary Medicine Loan Program Forgiveness Chart

 

 

Practice veterinary medicine full time in an area of Maine with insufficient veterinary services and practice is devoted to livestock at least 20 hours per week, I will be forgiven 25% of my original Loan (including interest) for each full year of such a practice.    25% of original principal (including interest) for each full year of practice.
Practice veterinary medicine full time in an area of Maine with insufficient veterinary services and practice is devoted to livestock less than 20 hours per week but not less than 10 hours per week.  12.5% of original principal (including interest) for each full year of practice.
Practice veterinary medicine less than full time in an area of Maine with insufficient veterinary services and practice is devoted to livestock at least 10 hours per week.  12.5% of original principal (including interest) for each full year of practice.
Practicing in Maine, but not subject to 1, 2, or 3 No Forgiveness. 10-year repayment period with interest accruing.  Interest rate is 5%.
Not practicing in Maine or withdrew from professional education No Forgiveness. 10-year repayment period with interest accruing.  Interest rate is 5%.

 

Note: Underserved areas are as determined by the Maine by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources

 

What else should I know?

Deferments during the repayment period may be granted by the chief executive officer at FAME.  A deferment will not ordinarily be granted for a period greater than a year and may be granted to the borrower in anticipation of an eligible return service position or for documented financial hardship due to returning to school, loss or reduction of work hours, temporary disability.

 

 

Maine Dental Education Loan & Loan Repayment Program

As a Maine Dental Education Loan Recipient you may be eligible to have all or part of your dental education loan debt forgiven under certain circumstances.  This program was created to increase access to dental care for underserved populations in Maine. 

 

Dental Loan Recipients:

Forgiveness  

Loan recipients practicing primary dental care in an eligible dental facility in an underserved area (as determined by the Commissioner of The Maine Department of Health & Human Services) may be forgiven 25 % of their original outstanding indebtedness on an annual basis.  Recipients must provide documentation that they have practiced primary dental care in an eligible facility in an underserved area.  Loan recipients may receive partial loan forgiveness on a pro rata basis if they fulfill all the criteria but maintain the appropriate practice for less than a year.

 

Eligible Facility

To be considered an eligible dental facility, the facility must offer primary dental care and accept patients without regard for payment source, accept MaineCare, accept payment based on a sliding fee scale from patients with family income up to 200% of poverty level, and not limit service to patients based on payment source.

 

Repayment

The repayment period will begin six months following the completion of professional education or upon withdrawal from school. Loans must be repaid over a term no greater than ten years. Interest is calculated using the applicable Stafford loan rate at the time of the recipient’s original note plus 1.5 %.

 

Deferments      

Deferments during the repayment period may be granted by the chief executive officer at FAME. A deferment will not ordinarily be granted for a period greater than a year and may be granted in the following circumstances:

  • The temporary disability of the borrower
  • The borrower’s inability to meet the requirements of the forgiveness provision
  • The demonstration that immediate repayment will cause undue hardship
  • Such other reasons as the chief executive officer may approve

 

Dental Practitioners Receiving Loan Repayment:

    • Eligible recipients may receive repayment of outstanding indebtedness at a rate of up to $ 20,000 per year for up to four years. 
    • Recipients must serve as a practitioner of dental medicine in an eligible dental facility in an approved underserved population area.
    • Recipients must sign an agreement for two years which may be renewed for an additional 2 years.
    • Payments of $ 20,000 annually will be provided to the recipient upon evidence of education indebtedness.
    • The recipient must repay amounts received if not used for appropriate purposes or if the recipient does not complete two years of service at the eligible facility.
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