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Postpone Payments With a Deferment or Forbearance

If you're experiencing a financial hardship, postponing your student loan payments may help.

If you can't make any payments at all, then a deferment or forbearance may be the right choice to keep your loan from entering default.

Consider This First

  • A deferment or forbearance is temporary.
    These are authorized temporary suspensions of repayment, granted under certain circumstances.
  • Interest keeps accruing.
    Even if a deferment or forbearance suspends your monthly payments, you are responsible for repaying accrued interest on all federal and private loans. The only exceptions to this are federal subsidized Stafford loans and federal consolidation loans on deferment.
  • You may become ineligible for certain incentives.
    If you use a deferment or forbearance, your eligibility may be delayed for, or you may be disqualified for any incentive programs that your lenders may offer, such as cosigner release, interest rate reductions and rebates.
  • Explore other options first.
    If you can manage small payments, you may want to consider other options.

About Deferment and Forbearance

  Deferment Forbearance
What Is It Deferment is a period of time during which your lender temporarily suspends your regular payments. Forbearance is a period of time during which your lender temporarily reduces or suspends your regular payments.
Reasons to Apply
  • Enrollment in school
  • Economic hardship
  • Unemployment
  • Military deployment
  • Unemployment
  • Economic hardship
  • Temporary hardship
  • Natural disaster
  • Military deployment
Eligible Loans
  • All loans in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), including:
    • Stafford loans
    • Supplemental loans for students
    • PLUS loans
    • Consolidation loans
  • All federal direct loans
  • Some alternative (private) loans, depending on the loan type and servicer
  • All loans in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), including:
    • Stafford loans
    • Supplemental loans for students
    • PLUS loans
    • Consolidation loans
  • All federal direct loans
  • Some alternative (private) loans, depending on the loan type and servicer
Who Pays the Interest

Subsidized federal loans—The government pays the daily interest that accrues.

All other loan types—You are responsible for paying the daily interest that accrues.

All loans—You are responsible for paying the daily interest that accrues.
How to Apply
  1. Find the form you need.
  2. Apply online or print and return the completed form to your loan servicer.
NOTE: Sometimes a deferment is automatically applied on your behalf.
  1. Find the form you need.
  2. Apply online or print and return the completed form to your loan servicer.

Take our Postpone Payments Eligibility Quiz

Find out if your federal student loans are eligible for a deferment or forbearance and review the best options for postponing your payments.

Sign in to Account Access, our secure website, to take the quiz.