• A deferment is a period of time during which your loan holder suspends your regular loan payments.
  • Depending on the type of loan you have, the government may pay the interest for you (called a federal interest subsidy) during deferment periods.
    • If you do not qualify for a federal interest subsidy, your loan will increase by the amount of unpaid interest that accrues during the period you are not making payments.
    • Whenever possible, try to make your interest payments, even when they are not required. Making payments toward accrued interest will minimize the growth of your loan balance.
  • Deferments are granted for specific situations and have certain time limitations and eligibility conditions. Common deferment situations:
    • Enrollment in school (at least half-time)
    • Study in a graduate fellowship program
    • Rehabilitation training program for disabled individuals
    • Unemployment
    • Economic hardship
    • Military service

Deferment programs

Depending upon when you receive your loan, you may be eligible for other types of deferments. To review your deferment options, choose a deferment eligibility chart based on your loan type and when your oldest outstanding loan of that type was first disbursed:

Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized, Federal Stafford (subsidized or unsubsidized), Direct PLUS, Federal PLUS, SLS (Supplemental Loan for Students), Direct Consolidation, and Federal Consolidation Loans:

Federal Perkins Loans:

Applying for a deferment

In most cases, you must send your deferment application to your loan holder along with documentation that supports your deferment eligibility. However, if you are enrolled in school at least half-time, your school may notify your loan holder and place your loans in deferment on your behalf. It is your responsibility to verify if a deferment has been processed and to continue making payments until your deferment has been approved.

Please keep a copy of all deferments and supporting documentation for your records.

Another option

If you're not eligible for a deferment, consider forbearance, another way to temporarily lower or postpone your payments. Your loan holder may grant forbearance if you are willing but temporarily unable to make full or partial payments and do not qualify for a deferment. Mandatory forbearance conditions do exist and are explained in the Master Promissory Note.

If you are in default on your loan, you are not eligible for a deferment or forbearance.