This site is privately owned and is not affiliated with any government agency. Learn more here.

Learn About Situations Where You Might Be Able to Defer Student Loans

Information You Can Find in Our Guide:

Our free guide will help you understand the steps you have to take and how to obtain the benefits you are looking for.

Learn About Situations Where You Might Be Able to Defer Student Loans

Updated on 08/30/2022

Students enrolled in certain colleges and universities may be eligible for deferment on their student loans. Deferment allows borrowers to halt making payments or pay a reduced payment for a temporary period. For school loans awarded by the college, university or technical school in which a student is enrolled, the borrower would apply for deferment from the institution itself, whereas borrowers of federal student loans would apply for deferment from the loan servicer. Deferment is not the same as forgiveness. Students who have federal student loans may qualify for federal loan forgiveness of up to $20,000 as part of recent legislation announced by President Biden.

Those who have more than $20,000 in federal student loan debt or do not qualify for forgiveness may consider deferment. Deferments can be awarded for reasons of economic hardship or unemployment. In most cases, the final decision on whether student loan deferment is available in general or for a specific student or graduate is fully up to the given lender. If you are unable to qualify for student loan deferment yet remain unable to make payments on your loan, your next step would be to apply for student loan forbearance. Student loan deferment can help borrowers to avoid defaulting on their loans. If you are required to make payments, remember to continue making payments on your loan until your application for deferment is approved.

Learn About Deferment While Enrolled Half-Time or More

Most loans eligible for deferment are automatically deferred for as long as a borrower remains enrolled in the given school and registered for classes at least half time. Such a deferment is called an “In School Deferment” and applies to Direct PLUS and FEEL PLUS loans for graduate and professional students. You can also receive this deferment if you return to school at least half time after leaving school and beginning your repayment period. If you meet these qualifications but your student loan has not been automatically deferred, you can contact the school directly to request they notify the loan servicer to inform them of your eligibility for deferment. An In School Deferment lasts for six months beyond the time when you cease to be enrolled in classes at least half time. Parents who received one of these loans for their child can also receive this deferment as long as the child is enrolled in classes at least half time. Such a deferment is known as a Parent PLUS Borrower Deferment.

Learn About Deferment for Graduate Fellows

If you are enrolled in a fellowship program for graduates that is approved by your loan servicer, you may be eligible to receive a Graduate Fellowship Deferment. You would need to work directly with your loan servicer for the terms and conditions.

Learn About Deferment for Rehabilitation Trainees

If you are enrolled in a training program for rehabilitating disabled persons that is approved by your loan servicer, you may be eligible to receive a Rehabilitation Training Program Deferment. This type of deferment is only temporary until such time as you complete your rehabilitation training.

Learn About Deferment for the Unemployed

For as many as three years after graduation, if you cannot find full-time work or you lose your job during the repayment period, you may be eligible to receive an Unemployment Deferment until such time as you find work again.

Learn About Deferment for Financial Hardship

For as many as three years after graduation, if you are undergoing financial hardship, you may be eligible to receive an Economic Hardship Deferment. You may also be eligible for this type of deferment if you serve in the Peace Corps.

Learn About Deferment for Military Service

If you are serving on active duty in the military during a time of war, a national emergency or a military operation, you may be eligible for a Military Service and Post-Active Duty Student Deferment during that period and for the 13 months following its conclusion, unless you return to school at least half-time, whichever comes first.

Learn About Deferment of Perkins Loans

Deferments on Perkins Loans are available for those borrowers who are in the process of trying to get that loan cancelled. Typically, a Perkins Loan borrower will receive what is known as a “post-deferment grace period” of six months following their inability to meet the requirements for deferment, during which time no payments on the Perkins Loan are due.

Learn About Deferment for Pre-1993 Borrowers

Borrowers of FEEL Program Loans prior to July 1, 1993 who have balances remaining or borrowers of Direct Loans prior to that date who currently have balances remaining on a FEEL Program Loan may qualify for further deferment options. Get in touch with your loan servicer directly in order to find out what these additional options, if available, may be.

Learn About Alternatives to Deferment

In addition to forbearance, other alternatives to deferment that you can consider if you are unable to make repayments on your student loan include income-driven repayment plans, which base the amount of your monthly payments on your income and the size of your household. If you are unable to pay off your student loan after 20 to 25 years, depending on the lender, you may then qualify for full student loan forgiveness, also known as loan discharge, completely wiping out the remainder of your student loan debt.

Options and eligibility for these and other loan repayment options may change from time to time, so make sure you refer to the Department of Education’s website to learn about the options that might be available to you.

Latest Articles

Understanding FHA Home Loans

Understanding FHA Home Loans

FHA loans | Looking to buy a home soon? Find out how FHA loans can help you buy a home with a low down payment! ... Read More
Understanding Rent to Own Homes

Understanding Rent to Own Homes

Rent To Own Housing Options | Are you having trouble securing a mortgage, but would still like to own a home? Learn more about the rent to own homes available to buyers. ... Read More
Understanding Medicaid

Understanding Medicaid

Interested in applying for Medicaid in your state? Learn everything you need to know about the Medicaid application process, from income limits to renewals. ... Read More