To defer a private student loan, you’ll need to contact your lender

To defer a private student loan, you’ll need to contact your lender

Many offer some form of deferment or relief if you are enrolled in school, serving in the military, or unemployed. Some also provide deferment for economic hardship. As with unsubsidized federal loans, in most cases, any deferment of a private loan comes with accrued interest that will capitalize at the end of the deferment period. You can escape this by paying the interest as it accrues.

Forbearance is another way to put off repayments for a period of time. But, as with deferment, it’s only a temporary fix. An income-driven repayment plan may be a better option if you expect your financial difficulty to continue.

Types of Federal Student Loan Deferment

The following deferment types apply to federal student loans. As noted, some private lenders also offer payment relief, but the types, rules, and requirements vary by lender.

In-School Student Deferment

This is the only automatic deferment offered by the federal government, and it comes with the requirement that you are attending school at least half-time. If you have a subsidized or unsubsidized Direct or federal Stafford student loan, or if you are a graduate or professional student with a Direct PLUS or FFEL PLUS loan, your loan will remain on pause until six months after you graduate or leave school. All others with PLUS loans must begin repaying as soon as they leave school. If you don’t receive an automatic deferment, ask your school’s admissions office to send your online payday loans Oklahoma enrollment information to your loan servicer.

In-School Parent Deferment

If you are a parent who took out a Direct PLUS or FFEL PLUS loan, and the student for whom you took out the loan is enrolled at least half-time, you are also eligible for deferment, but you must request it. Your deferment comes with the same six-month grace period afforded to students mentioned above. There is no time limit for either type of in-school deferment.

Unemployment Deferment

You may request deferment for up to three years if you become unemployed or are unable to find a full-time job. To qualify, you must be either receiving unemployment benefits or seeking full-time work by registering with an employment agency. You must also reapply for this deferment every six months.

Economic Hardship Deferment

Economic hardship deferment is available for up to three years if you are currently receiving state or federal assistance, including through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The same applies if your monthly income is less than 150% of your state’s poverty guidelines. You must reapply for this deferment every 12 months.

Peace Corps Deferment

A deferment of up to three years is also available if you are serving in the Peace Corps. Although Peace Corps service is considered an economic hardship, it does not require you to reapply during the deferment period.

Military Deferment

Active duty military service in connection with a war, military operation, or national emergency can qualify you for student loan deferment, as well. This can include a 13-month grace period following the end of your service or until you return to school on at least a half-time basis.

Cancer Treatment Deferment

If you have cancer, you can request deferment of your student loan debt during treatment and for six months following the conclusion of treatment.

Other Deferment Options

If you don’t qualify for one of the types of deferment just listed, you still may qualify for one of the following:

  • Graduate fellowship deferment if you are enrolled in an approved program
  • Rehabilitation training deferment if you are enrolled in an approved rehabilitation training program

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