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How to Get Your Student Loans Deferred

Student loan deferment is a temporary suspension of your monthly student loan payments. If you are struggling to make your student loan payments or are going through a particular life event (like graduate school or losing your job), student loan deferment can be a good way to get you back on your feet. Student loan deferment is only available in certain situations, so continue reading to learn how to get your student loans deferred if applicable.  

Covid 19 Deferment Update

For students affected by the Covid 19 Pandemic, you may be eligible for deferment. Here is the latest information on student loan deferment due to the pandemic. 

When to defer your student loans 

Student loan deferment offers relief when unable to make your payments. However, it may not always be the best option. It’s important to know that, in most cases, interest will continue to accrue on your loans in deferment. The only loans that you won’t be responsible for paying interest on are ones that are subsidized by the federal government. 

Depending on your loan type, borrowers may continue paying interest while in deferment. The interest might then be added to your balance, and increase the total loan balance. Take the time to fully understand how capitalized interest works before signing off on deferment. 

Student loan deferment can also have an impact on your eligibility for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program or income-driven repayment plans. Periods of deferment often don’t count toward these programs. 

Because of the impact that student loan deferment can have, consider it to be a last-resort option. First, talk to your loan servicer to discuss your options and your eligibility for loan deferment.

Now that you know about the consequences of deferring your loans, let’s dive into the kinds of deferment available and how to get started. 

Federal student loan deferment

The Department of Education offers student loan deferment for all types of federal loans. In most cases, student loan deferment needs to be applied for; here is a list of the application forms for the deferments mentioned below:

Economic hardship deferment

If suffering economic hardship, consider having your loan payments deferred. Students are eligible for this deferment if they receive a benefit like welfare, work full-time but have low earnings, or are serving in the Peace Corps.

Economic hardship deferment lasts for up to three years, and the years don’t need to be consecutive. This is important to keep in mind if you’re expecting to need deferment for longer.

Unemployment deferment

If receiving unemployment benefits or unable to find a full-time job, students can receive unemployment deferments. Like the economic hardship deferment, this deferment lasts for up to three years.

In-school deferment

If returning to school for at least half-time while repaying loans, most students are eligible for this deferment. In fact, in-school deferment happens automatically when your school reports the necessary information. Deferment applies for the time in school and the six months after leaving.

Graduate fellowship deferment

If enrolled in an eligible graduate fellowship program, students are eligible for this deferment. Generally, these programs provide financial support to graduate students while they perform research and their studies. Students are able to remain in this deferment for as long as they are in a graduate fellowship program.

Military service and post-active duty deferment

Current and former military qualify for this deferment if they are on active duty or if they have completed qualifying active duty military service. Military members can remain in this deferment until they resume attending school at least full-time or for up to 13 months after completing service.

Cancer treatment deferment

Students can receive deferment on their student loans throughout the course of cancer treatment, and for six months after the treatment ends.

Rehabilitation training deferment

Students may qualify for deferment if they are in an approved rehabilitation training program. This deferment applies to students enrolled in vocational, mental health, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse rehabilitation treatment programs.

Private student loan deferment

Most private lenders also offer deferment in a variety of situations. For example, Sallie Mae offers deferment when students return to school or enter an internship, fellowship, clerkship, or residency program. 

Private lenders’ options are often more limited. Contact your private student loan lender as soon as possible to have your private loans deferred.If deferment is not possible, grants and loan forgiveness programs can pay off all or part of private student loan debt. 

Explore all options

As you can see, there are viable options when paying your loans does not work for your current or coming situation.  Start researching and making a plan so that you successfully defer your loans and avoid late payments!