What Is Student Loan Deferment?

A student loan deferment allows you to stop making payments on your student loans for a limited period. Unlike during forbearance, interest does not continue to accrue on deferred student loans.

Deferment Eligibility Depends on Your Lender

All federal student loans can be deferred, but private student loan lenders have different criteria for deferment. Some do not offer a deferment option at all. Review your private student loan paperwork to determine whether your private lender offers a deferment option.

Criteria for Deferment

In order to qualify for deferment of your federal student loan, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You suffer from a financial hardship.
  • You re-enrolled in school.
  • You are unemployed.

In some cases, you may defer repayment of your federal student loans while completing public service responsibilities such as military service or work in the Peace Corps.

Applying for Student Loan Deferment

Although some private lenders may require you to complete a formal application for student loan deferment, the federal government does not. In order to request a deferment, write a letter to the U.S. Department of Education formally requesting a deferment of your student loan. Include the reason for your request and documentation to support your claim. The Department of Education will inform you via mail if you qualify to defer your student loan payments.


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