Student Loan Payment Problems

Deferment

A deferment is a period of time during which no payments are required and interest does not accrue (accumulate), unless you have an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. In that case, you must pay the interest.

The most typical loan deferment conditions are enrollment in school at least half time, inability to find full-time employment (for up to three years), and economic hardship (for up to three years).

Forbearance

If you temporarily can't meet your repayment schedule but you don't meet the requirements for a deferment, your lender might grant you forbearance. During forbearance, your loan payments are postponed or reduced. Interest continues to accrue (accumulate), however, and you are responsible for paying it, no matter what kind of loan you have.

Applying For Deferment or Forbearance:

Federal Perkins Loan - Contact the school that made you the loan or the school's servicing agent.

Direct Loans (includes Direct PLUS Loans) - Contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at the Web site or telephone number listed here.

FFEL Loans (includes FFEL PLUS Loans) - Contact the lender or agency holding the loan.

Student Loan Discharge

It is possible to Discharge a loan, meaning the student would be released from all obligations to repay the loan, but only under special circumstances.

Two such examples are your death or your total and permanent disability. Also, your loan might be discharged because of the type of work you do: teaching in a designated low-income school, for example.

After reviewing the cancellation conditions, if you think you qualify, you must apply to the holder of your loan.

Federal Perkins Loans - Check with the school that made you the loan or with the school's servicing agent.

Direct Stafford Loans - Contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center.

FFEL Stafford Loans - Contact your lender or its servicing agent.

Perkins Loans have special discharge qualifications.

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