Postpone payments

You may be able to temporarily postpone your monthly loan payments

If you're struggling to pay your federal student loan(s), we can help you find out if you qualify for deferment or forbearance.

Deferment

A deferment will temporarily postpone your payments; however, interest will continue to accrue depending on the loan type(s) and it may extend the amount of time until your loan(s) is paid off.

Because unsubsidized federal loans (unsubsidized Stafford, PLUS, Grad PLUS loans) accruing interest during deferment, your balance on these loans will grow while you are in deferment. Voluntary payments during deferment may reduce your total costs.

See how much you can save with our Value of making interest payments calculator.

There are many types of deferment, each with its own eligibility requirements.

Contact your servicer(s)/lender(s) to discuss your deferment options. If you don't know who your servicer(s)/lender(s) is, go to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), which is the central database for all federal student loan information.

Common types of deferment


Economic hardship deferment

If you are experiencing economic hardship, you may qualify for this deferment... Read more >

If you are experiencing economic hardship, you may qualify for this deferment. There is a 36-month limitation on economic hardship deferments and you must reapply every 12 months.

Download the request for economic hardship deferment

Close >

Graduate fellowship deferment

To qualify for a graduate fellowship deferment, the following... Read more >

To qualify for an graduate fellowship deferment, the following conditions must be met.

  • You have a bachelor's degree
  • You have been accepted or recommended by an institution of higher education for acceptance into a graduate fellowship program on a full-time basis
  • Your graduate fellowship program provides sufficient financial support to allow for full-time study for a period of at least six months
  • Your graduate fellowship program requires, before the awarding of financial support, a written statement from you that explains your objectives
  • Your graduate fellowship program requires you to submit periodic reports, projects, or other evidence of your progress
  • Your graduate fellowship program accepts the course of study from the foreign university toward completion of the fellowship program

Download the request for graduate fellowship deferment

Close >

Rehabilitation training deferment

To qualify for an rehabilitation training deferment, the following... Read more >

To qualify for an rehabilitation training deferment, the following conditions must be met.

  • Your program is licensed, approved, certified, or recognized as providing rehabilitation training to disabled individuals
  • Your training program provides services under a written, individualized plan that specifies the date the services are expected to end
  • Your program requires a substantial commitment by you to your rehabilitation
  • You are receiving or scheduled to receive vocational, drug abuse, mental health, or alcohol abuse rehabilitation services in your program

Download the request for rehabilitation training deferment

Close >

In-school deferment

You can defer your loan(s) if you are enrolled at least half-time at an eligible... Read more >

You can defer your loan(s) if you are enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Your school must provide verification of enrollment to your servicer(s)/lender(s). An In-school deferment may be automatically granted based on enrollment data from the school, but to be safe, you should contact your servicer(s)/lender(s) to secure your deferment.

There is no time limit for In-school deferments for qualified students. Parents with PLUS loans may also qualify for deferments.

Download the request for In-school deferment

Close >

Military service deferment

This deferment is available if you are serving on active duty in the U.S. Military... Read more >

This deferment is available if you are serving on active duty in the U.S. Military or National Guard, during a war or other military operation, or during a national emergency. There is no time limit for military service deferments.

Download the request for military service deferment

Close >

PLUS borrower with dependent student deferment

Parents may be eligible for a deferment if their dependent student is enrolled at... Read more >

Parents may be eligible for a deferment if their dependent student is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school, or full-time in a rehabilitation program. Upon request, parents with PLUS loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, have the following options:

  • Defer payments while the undergraduate student is enrolled in school at least half-time
  • Defer payments six months after the student graduates or leaves school
  • Choose not to defer and begin repayment within 60 days of the loans being fully disbursed

Download the request for parent PLUS borrower deferment

Close >

Post-active duty student deferment

If you are enrolled in school and are called to active duty as a member of the... Read more >

If you are enrolled in school and are called to active duty as a member of the National Guard or other reserve component of the U.S. Military, you may qualify for this deferment.

  • This deferment provides a 13-month deferment following the conclusion of active-duty military service
  • It is open to any member (current or retired) of any reserve component of the U.S. Military
  • You must have been enrolled in an eligible school within six months prior to or at the time you were called to active duty
  • You must have been enrolled at least half-time to qualify

If you return to school on at least a half-time basis while you are on a Post-active duty student deferment, the deferment ends. However, you would then qualify for an In-school deferment.

Download the request for Post-active duty student deferment

Close >

Temporary total disability deferment

If you, your spouse or your dependent is temporarily totally disabled, you... Read more >

If you, your spouse or your dependent is temporarily totally disabled, you may be eligible for this deferment. To qualify, you must:

  • Have at least one outstanding FFEL Program loan made before July 1, 1993
  • Provide certification—from a physician—that you, your spouse or your dependent is temporarily totally disabled

Temporary total disability deferments are granted in six-month increments for up to 36 months. To continue the deferment, you must request the deferment and a physician must re-certify your condition, or that of your spouse or your dependent, every six months.

Download the request for temporary total disability deferment

Close >

Unemployment deferment

If you are currently unemployed or underemployed, you may qualify... Read more >

If you are currently unemployed or underemployed, you may qualify for an unemployment deferment. Any of the following conditions may qualify:

  • Complete unemployment
  • Temporary employment that does not last more than 90 consecutive days

You must be actively seeking employment when you apply to qualify and you must reapply every six months. The length of an unemployment deferment depends on when your loan(s) was made.

  • If your first loan was made before July 1, 1993, the maximum cumulative is 24 months
  • If your first loan was made on or after July 1, 1993, the maximum cumulative is 36 months

Download the request for unemployment deferment

Close >

Common types of forbearance


General forbearance

If you suffer a financial setback because of job loss or illness—and are not... Read more >

If you suffer a financial setback because of job loss or illness—and are not eligible for a deferment—you may request a general forbearance, which will temporarily postpone or reduce your monthly payments, if granted.

Contact your servicer(s)/lender(s) to request a discretionary forbearance.

Download the request for forbearance

Close >

Mandatory forbearance

To obtain a mandatory forbearance, you must request it and show proof that you... Read more >

To obtain a mandatory forbearance, you must request it and show proof that you qualify. The following are situations for which a mandatory forbearance is granted:

  • You are in a medical or dental internship or residency
  • You have student loan payments that are 20 percent or more of your monthly income
  • You have payments being made for you by the Department of Defense

To get started, contact your servicer(s)/lender(s).

Close >

Administrative forbearance

Your servicer(s)/lender(s) may grant an administrative forbearance for a... Read more >

Your servicer(s)/lender(s) may grant an administrative forbearance for a limited, specific period of time. For example, in June you may learn that you are eligible for deferment starting in September, but you need a forbearance until your deferment begins. In that case, you may apply for administrative forbearance. If your servicer(s)/lender(s) approves, the administrative forbearance would postpone your payments for that brief period until your eligibility for deferment begins—in this example, from June through September.

Contact your servicer(s)/lender(s) to request an administrative forbearance.

Close >

Mandatory administrative forbearance

Your servicer(s)/lender(s) automatically grants a mandatory administrative... Read more >

Your servicer(s)/lender(s) automatically grants a mandatory administrative forbearance when circumstances dictate. While the qualifying situations vary, most mandatory administrative forbearances are granted for circumstances outside of your control, such as local or national emergencies, natural disasters and involuntary military service.

Contact your servicer(s)/lender(s) to determine if you qualify for a mandatory administrative forbearance.

Close >