Let’s face it – sometimes it is difficult to pay back your student loans right away when you graduate or drop out of college. When this happens, you may struggle to make the required payments on your account and it may stress you out. If you are having trouble affording the payments, you can apply for a deferment or forbearance to help you reduce your student loan payments.
Deferment and forbearance are options that either reduce or postpone your federal student loan payments and these options are available to help you avoid going into default on your loans.
Below, we will go over more information about these options and let you know why they are available and how they can help you.
What are Deferment & Forbearance?
Let’s go ahead and start out by explaining what each of these options means to you. Deferment is a length of time where your repayment is delayed and placed on hold until your situation changes. You do not have to make payments toward your student loans during this time and there will be no penalties but interest does continue to accrue unless you have a subsidized loan.
Forbearance is when you do not qualify to have your loans deferred and you cannot afford the payment. Forbearance allows you to reduce the amount that you are paying per month and will place your monthly payment into a more affordable range.
How Do I Request a Deferment for my Loan?
To request a deferment on your student loans, you will need to speak with your loan servicer. Typically, you will need to submit a request, which includes a short application asking about your ability to pay and whether or not you are enrolled in school.
You may need to provide additional information to your loan servicer including a statement from the school saying you are enrolled at least half-time.
Direct loans (meaning Stafford and PLUS loans for parents and graduates), Perkins loans, and FFEL loans are all eligible to be deferred and you can defer them up to three years.
How Do I Request Forbearance for my Loan?
To receive forbearance on your loan, you must apply for it as it is not automatically granted to you. Your loan provider will not know that you are having trouble making payments on your loans unless you tell them.
To apply, you must contact your loan servicer and discuss it with them. You will usually have to fill out an application that includes questions about your income, payments, and similar. You will also be required to submit documentation that shows your inability to pay. For instance, you may be asked to submit tax forms or proof that you receive supplemental income such as welfare, food stamps, or similar.
What Else Should I Know About Deferment & Forbearance?
One of the most important things to remember is that interest will continue to accrue on your loan, even when they are in the forbearance stage. Another thing to consider is the fact that the deferment and forbearance process will vary considerably between federal student loans and loans from private banks.
In addition, you need to make sure you continue to make payments on your loans until you receive the notice that your deferment or forbearance is approved. If you stop making payments before you are approved or if you do not get approved and you have not made payments, then you may default on the loan.
If you are interested in applying for forbearance or a deferment, contact your loan provider today.