Deferment: A deferment is a period of time during which no payments are required and interest does not accrue, unless you have an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. In that case, you must pay the interest. To qualify for a deferment, you must meet specific eligibility requirements.
Forbearance: If you are not eligible for a deferment, but are temporarily unable to meet your repayment schedule, you may be eligible for a forbearance. Forbearance occurs when your servicer agrees to either temporarily reduce or postpone your student loan payments. Interest continues to accrue and you are responsible for paying it.
Federal Direct Stafford or PLUS Loans: Your loan servicer will provide details and forms needed to complete the application process. Borrowers can identify their loan servicer by looking up their loan details on NSLDS (National Student Loan Database System).
For discretionary forbearances, your lender decides whether to grant forbearance or not.
You can request a discretionary forbearance for the following reasons:
For mandatory forbearances, if you meet the eligibility criteria for the forbearance, your lender is required to grant the forbearance.
You can request a mandatory forbearance for the following reasons:
Receiving loan forbearance is not automatic.
You must apply by making a request to your loan servicer. In some cases, you must provide documentation to support your request.
What is the difference between deferment and forbearance?
Deferment allows you to temporarily postpone payments when you meet specific eligibility criteria. Common types of deferment include in-school, unemployment, economic hardship, or residency. Interest does not accrue during deferment.
Forbearance allows you to temporarily reduce your monthly payment to interest-only payments. Interest continues to accrue and must be paid each month. There is a maximum of 36 months forbearance available.
What is the difference between Unemployment Deferment and Economic Hardship Deferment?
If you are currently unemployed or under employed (working less than 30 hours a week) and are actively seeking employment and/or you are receiving unemployment benefits, you would be eligible for an Unemployment Deferment (for Perkins loans only). There is a total of 36 months available during the term of your loan.
If you are working 30 hours or more and are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for an Economic Hardship Deferment (for Perkins loans only). There is a total of 36 months available during the term of your loan.