When paying back your student loans it is important to make these payments on time and as agreed to with the lender.

If you fail to make payments for a certain period of time, you risk being in default of your student loan. Defaulting on your student loan can have serious consequences.

If you are having problems paying back your student loans, you may want to consider loan deferment or forbearance.

Loan Deferment

Some people qualify for a deferment. With loan deferment, you are still responsible for the interest on your loan. But you may be able to work out a plan to pay interest only on a regular payment schedule while your loan is deferred.

Alternatively, you could add that interest to your final balance once repayment resumes.

Possible deferment conditions include:

  • enrollment in a graduate program,
  • serving on active duty in the military,
  • being unable to find employment.

Each type of deferment requires a specific form that must be submitted and approved.

The forms with additional information about the eligibility requirements for both deferment and forbearance are on the government’s Student Aid website.

You must continue paying on time while you apply for approval for deferment. Deferment is not automatically approved even if you think you meet the qualifications.

Loan Forbearance

There are also various requirements for seeking forbearance, which differs from a deferment. The two types of forbearance are general and mandatory. They can be granted depending on the type of loan you have and the reasons for your temporary inability to pay.

The reasons include things like:

  • changes in employment
  • high debt burdens
  • medical internships
  • being an been activate member of the National Guard

Forbearances defer payment from 12 months up to 3 years. The period granted depends on the category your request falls in.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

There is also a Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. It is for specific types of loans, employment conditions and public service. Forbearance is currently available only if you are serving in AmeriCorps.

These programs change frequently. There is no guarantee that you can receive loan forgiveness or forbearance.

Again, during the application process, it’s essential that you continue to make loan payments.

Both deferment and forbearance are short-term solutions meant to save you from default. They are considered special extensions that give you more time to repay what you owe.

Research each program and option to help you repay your obligation so you don’t default.