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Deferment and Forbearance


Postponing Loan Repayment

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.


Things to Know 

  • Postponement is not automatic; borrowers must submit a completed application to each of their servicers.
  • The servicer will determine eligibility and notify the borrower once the request has been processed.
  • The borrower is responsible to continue making regular monthly payments until the request has been processed.
  • The borrower must continue making interest payments during periods of forbearance.
  • The borrower must keep track of the deferment/forbearance end-date and be prepared for repayment to resume.

How do I Request a Deferment?

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).



The Two Types of Forbearances

Discretionary Forbearances:

For discretionary forbearances, your lender decides whether to grant forbearance or not.

You can request a discretionary forbearance for the following reasons:

  • · Financial hardship
  • · Illness

Mandatory Forbearances:

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:

  • You are serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program, and you meet specific requirements.
  • The total amount you owe each month for all the student loans you received is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income (additional conditions apply).
  • You are serving in a national service position for which you received a national service award.
  • You are performing teaching service that would qualify for teacher loan forgiveness.
  • You qualify for partial repayment of your loans under the U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program.
  • You are a member of the National Guard and have been activated by a governor, but you are not eligible for a military deferment.
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How do I request forbearance?

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.


FAQ

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.