We already talked about ways you could possibly lower your monthly student loan obligations. But if you’re looking for a way to postpone your student loan payments, there may be an option for you as well.
Under certain circumstances, borrowers may be eligible for a deferment or be granted a forbearance. Now, in both cases, you aren’t required to make payments to your student loan for a short period of time. However, there are some differences that are important to understand. I’ll give you the scoop on each:
- Deferments: These are for federal student loans. There are several types of deferments for folks in different situations. You need to meet the criteria of these situations in order to be eligible for the deferment. If you are granted a deferment, know that in most cases, you’ll still be accruing interest. (The exception is for subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, which are based on financial need — the interest accrued during deferment for those loans is paid by the government.) If you don’t qualify for a deferment, you may be able to postpone payments with a forbearance.
- Forbearances: Forbearances are available for both federal and private student loans. These are granted at the discretion of your lender. Interest will continue to accrue on your loan during forbearance (even for the subsidized Federal Stafford Loan). Federal forbearances are available for borrowers experiencing financial hardship and other situations. Private student loan forbearances vary by lender, so ask your lender what options are available for you.
If you’re having difficulties repaying your loan, it’s very important to talk with your lender about options and the paperwork you’ll need to apply for them. You don’t want to fall behind on payments, and a deferment or forbearance could help.