Skip to main content

Deferment and forbearance

There may be situations in which borrowers are unable to make payments on their loans, in which case there could be eligibility for a deferment or a forbearance.

A deferment is a situation in which borrowers could temporarily stop making payments on their Federal Direct Loan(s). Borrowers would still be responsible for interest on the loans. Circumstances which may qualify borrowers for a deferment include the following:

  • Returning to school on at least a half-time status
  • Studying full-time in a graduate fellowship
  • Approved rehabilitation training
  • Unemployment (deferment limited to three years)
  • Economic hardship (deferment limited to three years)

To receive a deferment, borrowers must submit a deferment request to their Direct Loan Servicer along with documentation of eligibility for the deferment. Deferment (and forbearance) forms can be found at Deferment and Forbearance Information.

Borrowers who cannot make payments and do not qualify for a deferment may qualify for a forbearance. Borrowers would be responsible for interest on the loans here as well. Common reasons to receive a forbearance may include:

  • Medical/dental internships
  • Educational debt exceeding 20 percent of your income
  • Illness
  • Financial hardship

To determine if you qualify for a forbearance, contact your Direct Loan Servicer.