If you meet certain requirements, you may receive a deferment that allows you to temporarily stop making payments on your loan. If you cannot make your scheduled loan payments, but do not qualify for a deferment, we may give you a forbearance. A forbearance allows you to temporarily stop making payments on your loan, temporarily make smaller payments, or extend the time for making payments.
You may receive a deferment while you are:
- Enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school;
- In a full-time course of study in a graduate fellowship program;
- In an approved full-time rehabilitation program for individuals with disabilities.
- Unemployed (for a maximum of three years; you must be conscientiously seeking, but unable to find, full-time employment).
- Experiencing an economic hardship (including Peace Corps service), as determined under the Act (for a maximum of three years).
- Serving on active duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, or performing qualifying National Guard duty during a war or other military operation or national emergency, and if you are serving on or after October 1, 2007, for the 180-day period following the demobilization date for your qualifying service.
Effective October 1, 2007, if you are a member of the National Guard or another reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces (current or retired) and you are called or ordered to active duty while enrolled at an eligible school, or within 6 months of having been enrolled, you are eligible for a deferment during the 13 months following the conclusion of the active duty service, or until the date you return to enrolled student status, whichever is earlier.
You may be eligible to receive additional deferments if, at the time you received your first Direct Loan, you had an outstanding balance on a loan made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program before July 1, 1993. For a list of qualifying criteria, go to http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/borrower/brights.html.
The federal government will give you forbearance if you are serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program, and you meet specific requirements:
- You are serving in a national service position for which you receive a national service education award under the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (AmeriCorps).
- You qualify for partial repayment of your loans under the Student Loan Repayment Program, as administered by the Department of Defense.
- You are performing service that would qualify you for loan forgiveness under the teacher loan forgiveness program that is available to certain Direct Loan and FFEL program borrowers.
- The total amount you owe each month for all of the student loans you received under Title IV of the Act is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income (for a maximum of three years).
In addition, we may give you a forbearance if you are temporarily unable to make your scheduled loan payments for reasons including, but not limited to, financial hardship or illness.
For additional information, including processing instructions, go to http://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/borrower/brights.html.