Deferments and Forbearance Options


If you are unable to repay a loan that is part of the federal education loan program, there are deferment options for which you may be eligible. A deferment allows you to postpone your scheduled monthly payments. .

If the loan is a subsidized Federal Direct Loan or Perkins, the federal government may pay the interest during periods of deferment. If the loan is an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan, you can pay the interest or it will be capitalized back (added on) to the principal of the loan.

You should notify your loan servicer immediately if you think you are having difficulty in repaying your student loan.


If you are willing but unable to make payments on your federal loan(s), and you do not qualify for a deferment, you can request forbearance. Forbearance is a temporary release from making loan payments, an extension of time for making payments or a temporary reduction in payment amounts.

One big difference between deferments and forbearance is that you are responsible for paying any interest that accrues on all types of loans during the forbearance period. You may pay the accruing interest, or add it to the loan principal (this is called "capitalizing") and pay it later when the forbearance ends. However, remember that capitalization means you will be paying interest on interest -- the total cost of your loan repayment will be considerably higher.

To see if you qualify for any deferment or forbearance options, please answer the questions below:

  1. Are you enrolled in school or a graduate fellowship program?

  2. Are you a volunteer in a tax-exempt organization?

  3. Are you unemployed?

  4. Are you serving in the military, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps, or Commissioned Corps of Public Health of the United States?

  5. Has the borrower or student died? Have you or your spouse or your dependent become disabled? Have you filed for bankruptcy?

  6. Are you a teacher?

  7. None of the above