Postpone/Delay Student Loan Repayment (Deferment and Forbearance)


Under certain circumstances, you can receive periods of deferment or forbearance that allow you to postpone loan repayment. These periods don’t count toward the length of time you have to repay your loan. You can’t get a deferment or forbearance for a loan that is already in Default.*


What is deferment?

A deferment is a period of time during which no payments are required and interest does not accrue (accumulate), unless you have an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. In that case, you must pay the interest.


How do I qualify for a deferment?

The most common loan deferment conditions are enrollment in school at least Half-time,* inability to find full-time employment (for up to three years) and economic hardship (for up to three years).


Can my parents or graduate and professional degree students defer repayment of their PLUS Loan?

Yes, as long as the loan isn’t in default.* Generally, the same deferment provisions that apply to Stafford Loans apply to PLUS Loans. Because PLUS Loans are unsubsidized, parents and graduate and professional degree students will be charged interest during periods of deferment. If they don’t pay the interest as it accrues, it will be capitalized* (added to their outstanding principal balance).


Is there deferment for active military service?

An active duty military deferment is available for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2001. The deferment may not exceed three years and is available only for periods when the borrower is serving on active duty during a war or other military operation, or national emergency or is performing qualifying National Guard duty under the same circumstances. Therefore, not all active duty military personnel are eligible for this new deferment.


Documentation for this deferment may include a copy of military orders or a written statement from the commanding officer or personnel officer verifying that you are on active duty under these circumstances.


Payments you made during a period that is now considered to have been covered by a military deferment cannot be refunded to you.


For information on deferments for loans received before that date, Direct Stafford Loan borrowers should contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at 1-800-848-0979. TTY users should call 1-800-848-0983. Or, go online at FFEL Stafford borrowers should contact their lender.


For more information on deferments, contact your lender or the financial aid office at your school.


You MUST continue making payments on your student loan until you have been notified that your request for deferment has been granted. If you don’t, and your deferment is not approved, you will become delinquent and may Default* on your loan.