Under certain circumstances you can receive a deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily postpone making loan repayments. Except for periods of economic hardship deferment under the Income-Based Repayment Plan, periods of deferment or forbearance do not count toward the maximum length of time you have to repay your loans.
A deferment is a period in which repayment of the principal balance is temporarily postponed if you meet certain requirements. During a deferment, the government pays the interest on subsidized loans.
For all unsubsidized loans and PLUS loans, you are responsible for paying the interest that accrues during the deferment period. You may pay the interest as it accrues during the deferment period, or allow it to be capitalized (added to the principal balance).
Enrolled at least half-time at an eligible postsecondary school (an eligible school is one that is approved to participate in the Department’s federal student aid programs)
Study in an approved graduate fellowship program or in an approved rehabilitation training program for the disabled
Unable to find full-time employment (for up to three years)
Economic hardship (includes Peace Corps Service) (for up to three years)
A member of the National Guard or other reserve component of the U.S. Armed forces (current or retired) who is called or ordered to active duty while enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school, or within six months of having been enrolled at least half-time. (eligible for a deferment during the 13 months following the conclusion of the active duty service, or until the borrower returns to enrolled student status on at least a half-time basis, whichever is earlier)
While borrower is on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency and if the borrower was serving on or after Oct. 1, 2007 (eligible for a deferment for an additional 180-day period following the demobilization date for the qualifying service)
If you received a FFEL Program loan before July 1, 1993, additional deferment options may be available. Contact your loan holder or loan servicer for more information.
If you do not meet the requirements for a deferment, you may still be eligible for a forbearance.
You MUST continue making payments on your student loan until you have been notified that your request for deferment or forbearance has been granted. If you don’t, and it is not approved, you will become delinquent and may default on your loan.
You are responsible for paying the interest that accrues during the forbearance on all loan types, including subsidized loans. When you resume making payments at the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the principal balance).
Applying for deferment or forbearance
Receiving deferment or forbearance is not automatic. You must contact your loan holder or loan servicer.