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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.


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 Federal Student Aid (FSA) website, 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. There is a 36-month limitation on economic hardship deferments and you must reapply every 12 months.

    Economic Hardship Deferment Request

    Graduate Fellowship Deferment

    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

    Graduate Fellowship Deferment Request

    Rehabilitation Training Deferment

    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

    Rehabilitation Training Deferment Request

    In-School Deferment

    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.

    In-school Deferment Request

    Military Service Deferment

    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.

    Military Service Deferment Request

    Plus Borrower with Dependent Student Deferment

    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

    Parent PLUS Borrower Deferment Request

    Post-Active Duty Student Deferment

    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.

    Post-active Duty Student Deferment Request

    Temporary Total Disability Deferment

    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 FFELP 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.

    Temporary Total Disability Deferment Request

    Unemployment Deferment

    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

    Unemployment Deferment Request

    Cancer Treatment Deferment

    If you are currently undergoing treatment for cancer, you may be eligible for the cancer treatment deferment. This deferment may be available to you if:

    • Your loans were disbursed on or after September 28, 2018
    • Your loans were loans are in repayment as of September 28, 2018

    The amount of time allowed for the cancer treatment deferment is based on your doctor's certification, including:

    • A maximum of 12 months applied at a time
    • And may also cover the six months after treatment has ceased

    Cancer Treatment Deferment Request

  • Common Types of Forbearance

    General Forbearance

    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.

    Forbearance Request

    Mandatory Forbearance

    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).

    Administrative Forbearance

    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.

    Mandatory Administrative Forbearance

    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.