How to qualify for a deferment?

Deferments allow students to defer payments on their loans to a later date for appropriate reasons. The most common deferment is the Student Deferment. The Student Deferment allows borrowers, who have returned to a federally designated institution of higher learning (a school assigned a Federal OPE Code), to defer their loans for the time period they are enrolled. For a student to be eligible for the Student Deferment at least half-time, they must be enrolled in six units or more. In most cases, students cannot withdraw before the end of the term or the deferment will be reversed. 

In addition, there are several other types of deferments, including: 


  1. Economic Hardship – For periods of up to one year at a time, not to exceed three years cumulatively. The student will need to provide the school with satisfactory documentation showing they fall into any of the following categories: 
    1. Granted an economic hardship deferment for either a Stafford or PLUS Loan for the same period for which the Perkins Loan deferment has been requested. 
    2. Receives federal or state public assistance, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (formerly, Aid to Families with Dependent Children), Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, or state general public assistance.  
    3. Works full time and earns a total monthly gross income that does not exceed 150% of the poverty line for the borrower's family size.
    4. Serves as a volunteer in the Peace Corps 
  2. Unemployment - May defer repayment on a Perkins Loan for up to three years, regardless of disbursement date and contrary provisions on the promissory note, if seeking and unable to find full-time employment. The school may determine the documents a borrower must provide when applying for this type of deferment. 
  3. Fellowship - May defer repayment if enrolled and in attendance as a regular student in a course of study that is part of a graduate fellowship program approved by the Department of Education, including graduate or postgraduate fellowship-supported study (such as a Fulbright Grant) outside the United States. 
  4. Pre-Cancellation Services - Must file a pre-cancellation deferment at the beginning of each qualified year of service if wishing to apply for employment cancellation benefits at the end of every year of qualified service. This ensures the borrower is not billed during the year and not expected to make payments during that time. Such borrowers will subsequently qualify to cancel a portion of their loan due to employment services. (also see Cancellation below) 

*Additional conditions and qualifications can also apply. Contact your lender to discuss your possible eligibility.