How long are student loans deferred?

How long student loans are deferred depends on your loan servicer. To understand your options, it’s best to reach out to your loan servicer directly and let them know what you’re facing. Typically, they want to help you get to a point where you can make payments. Don’t be afraid to let them know what’s going on and ask what your options are.

Student loan deferment

Student loan deferment is the postponement of student loan payments based on financial hardship. For instance, if you’re not making enough money to cover your payments and essential expenses due to low income or unemployment, you could qualify for deferment.

Types of deferment

There are several different types of deferment for federal student loans. To determine which one is best for you, reach out to your loan provider.

Here are some of the deferment options currently available.

  • Economic hardship deferment
  • In-School deferment
  • Graduate fellowship deferment
  • Military service/post-active duty student deferment
  • Parent PLUS borrower deferment
  • Cancer treatment deferment
  • Unemployment deferment
  • Rehabilitation training deferment

Each of these can last anywhere from 6 months to three years, depending on the type of deferment.

Some deferments do not accrue interest over the term of non-payment, while others do. Before asking for a deferment, you should be sure you understand all your options. 

2020 Federal Student Loan Deferment Program

If you’re currently paying a federal student loan, it should have automatically been included in the 2020 CARES Act pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pause allowed borrowers to stop paying on their federal student loans through May 1, 2022 without accruing interest. 

Contact your federal student loan service for more information if you have still been paying on your student loan and were not aware of the pause. 

In addition you should contact your student loan provider if you feel you will still not be able to pay your loan payment once the deferment ends. 

Importantly, this only applies to federal student loans.  If you have private student loans you should contact your loan servicer directly to discuss any COVID-related deferment program that may apply to your loan.

Whether you choose deferment or a new repayment plan, being proactive about how and when you pay your student loan is important. A default can stay on your credit report for up to 7 years and prevent you from doing everything from buying a car to taking out a new credit card.

It’s better to be upfront and honest with your loan provider and allow them the opportunity to assist you.
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