Pay for College

Explore college costs and plan how you'll pay for your degree or certificate.

Repayment Lifelines: Deferment and Forbearance

Find out how you might be able to postpone or adjust your loan payment

What is a deferment?

Things to keep in mind

Qualifying circumstances

How to request a deferment

What is a forbearance?

Things to keep in mind

How to request a forbearance

Have questions?


At some point, you may face circumstances that make repayment difficult. In such a situation, you might qualify for a deferment or forbearance, a temporary postponement or payment adjustment that allows you time to get back on your feet and resume full repayment.

What is a deferment?

A temporary delay in repayment which your lender grants if you meet certain conditions. Generally, a deferment is a borrower entitlement. If you qualify, the lender cannot deny your deferment request.

Things to keep in mind

  • During deferment, the government will pay the interest on your Direct subsidized loans.

  • You are responsible for paying interest on any unsubsidized loans. If you don't, the interest will accrue, meaning the interest will be added to the principal when the deferment is over. This added interest will likely increase your total loan amount.

Qualifying circumstances

Generally, deferments are granted for:

  • Unemployment
  • Economic hardship
  • Military service
  • Enrollment in school on at least a half-time basis
  • Study in a graduate fellowship program
  • Participation in a rehabilitation training program for disabled individuals

Other types of deferments might also be available to certain borrowers. Check with your loan holder or the company that services your loan for more information.

How to request a deferment

Contact your loan holder by phone or mail. You can apply for a deferment by downloading, completing, and submitting the right form to your loan holder or servicer. Remember that each deferment request must be approved before your payments will be postponed.

What is a forbearance?

A temporary postponement or adjustment in repayment granted at your loan holder's discretion, usually because you have a financial hardship and don't qualify for a deferment. During a forbearance, your loan holder:

  • May reduce or suspend your regular loan payments, or
  • Extend your repayment period.

Things to keep in mind

  • Generally, request a deferment before a forbearance.
  • The federal government will not pay the interest that accrues on subsidized loans during a forbearance period.
  • You must contact the loan holder as soon as you realize you are experiencing financial hardship. Your loan holder wants to help you through tough times in order to prevent default.

How to request a forbearance

Contact your loan holder by phone or mail. Remember that a forbearance request must be approved before your payments will be postponed or extended.

Have questions?

Watch a short video on deferments and forbearances. You can also contact TG Customer Assistance at (800) 845-6267 for more information.



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