Deferment and Forbearance
You are responsible for repaying your student loans, even if you don’t graduate or can’t find work. If you are having trouble making your student loan payments you have options. Depending on your situation, you could apply for a deferment or seek forbearance.
A deferment is a postponement of payment on a loan. If the loan is subsidized, interest will continue to accrue. If the loan is unsubsidized, interest will continue to accrue during deferment.
You may qualify for a deferment while you are:
- Enrolled at least half time in an eligible postsecondary school or studying full time in a graduate fellowship program or approved disability rehabilitation program
- Unemployed or meet our rules for economic hardship (limited to 3 years)
- Receiving payments under federal or state public assistance programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or other state programs
- Active in the Peace Corps
- On qualifying active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard
- Undergoing cancer treatment.
Borrowers should also investigate the repayment plans that reduce federal loan payments. One of these plans may be a better option than deferring your entire payment.
Apply for Deferment
There are different deferment request forms for different situations. Ask your lender or loan servicer for a form, or visit the Office of Federal Student Aid webpage.
Specific eligibility requirements apply to each category. If the lender or loan servicer determines that you do not qualify, you still may be granted forbearance — a temporary delay in making payments. But you’ll be responsible for the interest during forbearance. Ask your lender or loan servicer for details.
Your lender or loan servicer may either grant you a temporary delay in making loan payments - or lower your payments - if you are having trouble repaying your student loan.
During forbearance, you'll be responsible for paying the interest or having it capitalize, adding the interest accrued to your loan balance to be repaid later. Capitalization increases the total you must pay and may result in higher monthly payments when repayment resumes. Learn more about interest capitalization.
- Forbearance may be granted if you cannot make scheduled payments for many different reasons, such as poor health, financial difficulty, or other acceptable circumstances.
- A lender or loan servicer must grant forbearance if you are engaged in national services or involved in a military mobilization.
- The conditions that qualify you for mandatory forbearance vary widely; contact your lender or loan servicer for details.
You should also check with your lender or loan servicer to determine if you are eligible for a deferment.
Apply for Forbearance
Contact your lender or loan servicer to learn the information required for all types of forbearance. You may request forbearance for up to one year at a time.
Don’t know your loan servicer?
Go to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to get information about your federal loans. You’ll need your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to gain access. If you do not have an FSA ID or don't remember your username and password, you can reset your current account on the FSA ID website.