By Richard Reyna
Financial Aid Advisor
Events in your life can often cause financial strain on you. For example, returning to school, being deployed or experiencing an economic hardship may affect your ability to make payments on time or in full.
Under certain circumstances, however, Federal Direct Loan repayments can be deferred. A loan deferment temporarily stops or reduces monthly loan payments. In addition, subsidized loans do not accrue interest while in deferment.
Eligibility for Loan Deferment Depends on Your Circumstances
Loan deferment eligibility is dependent upon your circumstances. Below are just a few options that may be available to you:
- In-school deferment: If you’re attending school and have at least half-time enrollment, you may be eligible for an in-school deferment.
- Unemployment or economic hardship: If you’re experiencing unemployment or a similar economic hardship or you’re serving in the Peace Corps, you could qualify for a loan deferment.
- Military and post active-duty student deferment: You may qualify for this type of deferment while you’re on active-duty military service in connection with a war, a military operation or a national emergency.
You can also learn more about deferment at studentaid.gov, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.
Loan Deferments Are Arranged with Your Loan Servicer
The Department of Education assigns loan servicers who handle all billing and repayment services related to student loans, including deferment requests. You can obtain the name and contact information of your loan servicer by logging into the My Federal Student Aid website.
The loan servicer reviews your circumstances, determines your eligibility for deferment and works with you to process deferments. If your request for a loan deferment is approved, be aware of the terms and length of the deferment. Similarly, it is important that you stay in contact with your loan servicer and notify the loan servicer when your contact information or circumstances change.
Know What You Owe and Improve Your Loan Management
The best way to manage your student loan debt is to know exactly where you stand. The My Federal Student Aid site gives you access to information on the amount of financial aid you have received, enrollment status and loan servicer(s).
Through a partnership with ECMC Solutions, student loan borrowers at the university also have access to free loan counseling and support in finding an affordable option to successfully repay their loans.
Loan deferment is just one option you can explore with your loan servicer. A loan deferment option that fits your needs may make life a little easier as you pursue your education.