Postponing Loan Repayment
(Deferment and Forbearance)
Under certain circumstances, you can receive periods of deferment or forbearance that allow you to postpone loan repayment. These periods donʼt count toward the length of time you have to repay your loan. You canʼt get a deferment or forbearance for a loan that is already in default.
What is deferment?
A deferment is a period of time during which no payments are required and interest does not accrue (accumulate), 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.
How do I qualify for a deferment?
The most common loan deferment conditions are enrollment in school at least half-time (minimum 6 credit hours), inability to find full-time employment (for up to three years) and economic hardship (for up to three years).
What is forbearance?
If you temporarily canʼt meet your repayment schedule but youʼre not eligible for a deferment, your lender might grant you forbearance for a limited and specific period of time. Forbearance occurs when your lender or loan-servicing agency agrees to either temporarily reduce or postpone your student loan payments. Interest continues to accrue (accumulate), however, and you are responsible for paying it, no matter what kind of loan you have.
Generally, your lender can grant forbearance for periods up to 12 months at a time, for a maximum of three years. Youʼll have to provide documentation to the lender to show why you should be granted forbearance. The lender must send you a notice confirming the terms that were agreed to and record them in your file.
Applying for deferment or forbearance
Receiving deferment and forbearance is not automatic. You or your parents must apply for it.
- Federal Perkins Loan – Contact the school that made your loan or the schoolʼs servicing agent.
- Direct Loans (includes Direct PLUS Loans) – Contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at: 1-800-848-0979 or go to www.dl.ed.gov.
- FFEL Loans (includes FFEL PLUS Loans) – Contact the lender or agency holding your loan.
Submit all loan deferment requests to the Office of Student Records.