Postponing Your Loan Payment

Deferment and Forbearance

Deferment and forbearance are temporary suspensions of repayment. If you are unable to make payments in any amount, deferment or forbearance may be the right option for you.

Deferment – Deferment is generally a better option than forbearance because if you qualify for deferment, your subsidized loan interest will be paid by the federal government. The qualifications for deferment are based either on your income or circumstance (e.g. In-School Deferment or Unemployment Deferment).

Forbearance – Forbearance should be used only if you do not qualify for a deferment. During forbearance, all loan types continue to accrue interest daily. The qualifications for forbearance are based either on your income or circumstance (e.g. Hardship Forbearance or Loan Debt Burden Forbearance).

There are some income-driven repayment plans which offer a payment as low as $0.00; please visit our repayment options page for more information. Please note that your available deferment and forbearance options are time-limited and may vary based on your loan(s). Any unpaid interest may be capitalized (added to your principal balance) at the expiration of a deferment or forbearance thereby increasing the total cost of your loan(s); however, you have the option to make payments at any time. If you would like to defer repayment, log into Manage My Account to explore your options or to apply. You can also contact us directly to request a deferment or forbearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply for a deferment or forbearance if my account is past due?

Most likely, although if you are in default, you may not be eligible. Log into Manage My Account to explore your options or to apply. You can also contact us directly to request a deferment or forbearance.

How can I find out if my loan is in deferment or forbearance?

Log into Manage My Account to view your loan information, including your loan status. If you are unable to determine your loan status, or you have questions about your status, please contact us. Please note that if a deferment or forbearance was recently applied to your account, you will receive written confirmation of your deferment or forbearance status by mail or email.

Deferment Options

Economic Hardship Deferment

This deferment will postpone payments during times of financial difficulty for a period of up to one year at a time, and the maximum total deferment time of three years. There are numerous ways to qualify, such as if you:

  • Are currently on a deferment with Direct or Perkins
  • Are receiving federal or state public assistance
  • Are serving in the Peace Corps
  • Meet specific income criteria for your household size

You may only be eligible for this deferment if all of your outstanding loans were made on or after 7/1/93.

In-School Deferment

This deferment postpones repayment while you are attending a Title IV school* on at least a half-time basis. Full-time, half-time, or less than half-time enrollment is determined by your institution and must be clearly expressed on any enrollment verification provided by the school in order for this deferment to apply.

* A Title IV school is one that grants federal funding (i.e. Pell grants, Stafford Loans, etc).

Unemployment Deferment

This deferment postpones repayment while you are unemployed or working less than 30 hours per week. To receive this deferment, you must:

  • Certify that you are diligently seeking full-time employment at this time and registered with a public employment agency, or
  • Be receiving unemployment benefits and provide documentation of these benefits.
PLUS Borrower with Dependent Student Deferment

This deferment postpones payments for Parent PLUS loans while the student for whom they borrowed a PLUS loan is still a dependent and is either:

  • Enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school, or
  • Engaged full-time in a rehabilitation training program.

You may only be eligible for this deferment if all of your outstanding loans were made on or after 7/1/93.

Military Deferment

This deferment postpones payments during times the borrower is called to active duty, mobilized or deployed in support of an operation of national emergency. To qualify, you must provide either a deferment form completed by your commanding officer or supporting documentation showing your active duty, mobilized, or deployed status and the effective beginning and ending dates of service.

Forbearance Options

In-School Forbearance

This postpones repayment for borrowers who are:

  • Experiencing an excess debt burden (the payments of all Title IV loans equal or exceed 20% of the borrower's total monthly gross income)
  • Currently attending a non-Title IV school or Title IV school less than half-time*
  • Engaged in an internship or residency program
  • Performing the type of service that qualifies for partial repayment of loans under the Student Loan Repayment Program administered by the Department of Defense Serving in a service position for which they will receive a National Service Educational Award under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993.

* If you are attending at Title IV school at least halt-time, you may apply for an In-school Deferment.

PLUS Dependent In-School Forbearance

Available only to Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) borrowers, this forbearance will postpone payments for Parent PLUS loans while the student for whom they borrowed a PLUS loan is enrolled in school.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Forbearance

This forbearance is for borrowers who are completing five years of qualifying service to receive the Teacher Loan Forgiveness. To qualify for this forbearance, the payoff balance at the time of forgiveness must not exceed the forgiveness amount.

Temporary Hardship Forbearance

This forbearance postpones payments during times of financial difficulty for a period of six months in the future and up to one year at a time, and the maximum total forbearance time can be up to four years depending on your lender. It must be applied for a minimum of 30 days. To qualify, you must have enough forbearance time remaining to bring your account current.