Student Loan Deferment: What It Is, Who Qualifies, and How to Get It

Student loan deferment is a financial tool that allows borrowers to temporarily postpone their loan payments.

What It Is, Who Qualifies, and How to Get It

This can be a lifesaver for individuals facing financial hardship, going back to school, or serving in the military.

How Does Deferment Work?

During deferment, interest may continue to accrue on certain types of loans, depending on the loan terms. The borrower is typically not responsible for making payments during this period, but it’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions set by the loan servicer.

Who Qualifies for Student Loan Deferment?

Not everyone qualifies for student loan deferment. Eligibility criteria vary based on the type of loan and the borrower’s circumstances.

Financial Hardship

Borrowers facing financial difficulties, such as unemployment or significant income reduction, may qualify for deferment. Proof of financial hardship, like unemployment benefits or income statements, may be required.

Returning to School

If you decide to go back to school at least half-time, you may qualify for deferment. You’ll need to provide enrollment verification to your loan servicer.

Military Service

Members of the military on active duty, as well as those who have recently left the service, may be eligible for deferment. Proof of military service is typically required.

Other Qualifying Criteria

There are other specific situations where deferment may be granted, such as Peace Corps service or certain types of public service. It’s essential to check with your loan servicer for a complete list of eligibility requirements.

How to Apply for Student Loan Deferment

Applying for student loan deferment involves several steps, and it’s essential to follow the process carefully to ensure approval.

Contact Your Loan Servicer

The first step is to contact your loan servicer to discuss your eligibility and request the necessary deferment forms.

Gather Required Documentation

Depending on the reason for deferment, you may need to provide supporting documentation, such as proof of income, enrollment verification, or military orders.

Complete and Submit Forms

Fill out the deferment forms accurately and submit them along with any required documentation to your loan servicer. Make sure to keep copies for your records.

Await Approval

Once your application is submitted, it may take some time for your loan servicer to review and approve your deferment request. Be patient and follow up if necessary.

Potential Pitfalls and Considerations

While student loan deferment can provide temporary relief, there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of.

Accruing Interest

On certain types of loans, interest may continue to accrue during deferment, increasing the total amount you owe over time.

Loan Forbearance vs. Deferment

It’s essential to distinguish between loan forbearance and deferment. Forbearance may also allow you to postpone payments but typically involves accruing interest and may not be as favorable as deferment.

Impact on Credit Score

Missing loan payments can negatively impact your credit score, so it’s crucial to stay in touch with your loan servicer and keep them informed of your situation.


Student loan deferment can be a valuable tool for borrowers facing financial challenges, returning to school, or serving in the military. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and potential pitfalls, you can make informed decisions about whether deferment is the right option for you. Remember to stay proactive, communicate with your loan servicer, and explore all available options to manage your student loans effectively.

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