What is forbearance?
Forbearance is a temporary postponement or reduction of your student loan payments because you are experiencing financial difficulty.
Forbearance works differently depending on whether you have a federal or private student loan:
- Federal student loans: Your
federal student loan servicer can
grant forbearance for up to 12 months at a time. You have to apply to your loan
servicer for forbearance. You must continue to make payments until you receive
confirmation that your servicer has accepted your forbearance request.
- Private student loans: Private
student loan forbearance varies and is more limited than the federal program. Some servicers
charge borrowers a flat fee to place loans into forbearance for a period of
three months. Contact your private student loan servicer as
early as possible if you want to explore this option.
Here are some things to consider before asking for forbearance:
- You are
still responsible for the interest accrued during a forbearance. You
can pay the interest as it adds up or your servicer may add it to the balance
of your loans when the forbearance ends.
- You may
be eligible for other repayment options. If you cannot afford your payments, you may be able to enroll in a payment plan that lowers
your monthly payment. You also may be able to enroll in a deferment. Unlike
forbearance, you do not have to pay interest during deferment if you have a
subsidized federal student loan. Contact your servicer to discuss your options.
Take the next step
Federal student loan repayment options
Want more information about different federal student loan repayment programs?