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Frequently Asked Questions

Deferments for the Post-7/1/93 Loan Era

This page describes deferments available to borrowers who first took out loans between on or after 7/1/93.  

Note: Our descriptions of various deferment types are intended as summaries only, to guide you toward deferments for which you may qualify.  They are not intended to exhaustively list all eligibility conditions or documentation requirements.  Full descriptions of requirements can be found, however, on the deferment request forms that can be viewed and printed through the links we provide.  If you have any questions about the requirements listed in a form, please call us at 1 (888) 633-4850.  

If you borrowed the earliest of your outstanding loans on or after July 1, 1993, the following deferments may be available to you:

Student

You qualify for this deferment when you return to school on at least a half-time basis at an eligible institution.  (If in doubt, ask your school if they’re eligible.)  It’s up to your school to determine what constitutes “half-time.”

This deferment has no time limit: You continue to qualify as long as you remain enrolled at least half-time.

To qualify, you must get your school to certify your enrollment to your lender or servicer, if  they have not already supplied the certification through another means.

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Unemployment 

You qualify for this deferment if you: 

bullet Are unemployed or working less than 30 hours a week;
bullet Are actively seeking full-time employment (30 hours a week or more) in any field;
bullet Are registered with an employment agency in the United States; and
bullet Have not already received this deferment for 36 months.

The unemployment deferment is available for a maximum of 36 months.

You can find a complete description of eligibility criteria on the UNEM deferment request form.  The form will also spell out any documentation you are required to supply to your lender or servicer. 

Please also be sure to visit our Employment Help page.

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Economic Hardship

This deferment is intended for borrowers experiencing significant economic hardship.  You qualify if you meet one or more of the following conditions:

bullet You have been granted an economic hardship deferment under the Federal Direct Loan or Perkins Loan program;
bullet You are receiving public assistance, such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF; formerly AFDC or JOBS), Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income, or state general assistance;
bullet You work full-time (at least 30 hours a week) but do not earn more than the federal minimum wage or the “poverty line” for a family of two;
bullet You work full-time (at least 30 hours a week) and the payments you make on your federal student loans represent more than 20% of your gross income. “Federal student loans” can include more than your FFELP loans (e.g., Perkins Loans, HEAL, etc.); and/or
bullet You do not work full-time and your monthly income, after subtracting the payments due on your federal student loans, is less than federal minimum wage or the “poverty line” for family of two.

This deferment is available for up to 36 months.

You can find a complete description of eligibility criteria on the HRD deferment request form.  The form will also spell out any documentation you are required to supply to your lender or servicer. 

We recognize that the requirements for this type of deferment are complex, and may be confusing.  We encourage you to give us a call if you think you may qualify.  We’ve been dealing with this deferment for some time and can walk you through the requirements.

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Graduate Fellowship

You qualify for this deferment if you are engaged in a full-time course of study in a graduate fellowship program.

There is no time limit to this deferment: The deferment remains available to you as long as you continue to meet eligibility criteria.

You can find a complete description of eligibility criteria on the NEW EDU deferment request form.  The form will also spell out any documentation you are required to supply to your lender or servicer. 

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Rehabilitation Training

You may qualify for this deferment if you are working less than 30 hours a week and are receiving, or are scheduled to receive, training services from a rehabilitation agency.  The agency you work with must be recognized as a rehabilitation services provider by:

bullet A state agency for vocational rehabilitation;
bullet A drug or alcohol abuse treatment program;
bullet A mental health service; or
bullet The Veterans’ Administration (VA).

There is no time limit to this deferment: It is available to you as long as you continue to receive training services as described above. 

You can find a complete description of eligibility criteria on the NEW EDU deferment request form.  The form will also spell out any documentation you are required to supply to your lender or servicer. 

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