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Deferment of Stafford Loans

Note that details provided on this page reference loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Effective July 1, 2010, all new federal student loans come directly from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Federal Direct Loans). For information regarding Federal Direct Loans, refer to the Loans page of ED's Federal Student Aid website or contact the college's financial aid office.

Under certain circumstances, you may find it hard to pay back your loans. Such circumstances may include unemployment, economic hardship, military service, a disability, attending graduate school or going to college part time. If any of these situations prevent you from making payments, you may be eligible for loan deferment.

Deferment gives you a period of time in which you are not required to pay your subsidized loan’s principal, and interest does not accumulate (however, the interest still accrues on an unsubsidized loan). You must request a deferment through your lender, providing required documents for approval and if you meet all eligibility requirements, the lender must grant the deferment. If you are granted a deferment, the government (through the period of time allowed for by the deferment) will continue to pay the interest on your subsidized loan.

Check with your lender or ISAC to see if your loan qualifies for a deferment. If you have any questions about your loan and/or grant amounts, outstanding balances, disbursements, loan statuses, and loan servicers, check with the My Federal Student Aid website or the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Deferment Options

Each deferment option has a specific time limitation associated with it. Mapping Your Future provides charts designed to assist you in determining your deferment eligibility based on the disbursement date of your oldest outstanding loan.

Deferment TypesTime Limits
Enrollment in school at least half time No time limit
Graduate fellowship No time limit
Military Service No time limit
Rehabilitation training No time limit
Post-Active Duty Student 13 months
Unemployment 36 months
Economic hardship 36 months
Temporary Total Disability 36 months

Requesting a Deferment

Deferments are not automatic. To request a deferment you must:

  • Contact your lender. Your lender will determine if you are eligible for a deferment. Deferment eligibility is based on the date your first Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loan was disbursed.
  • Obtain the proper deferment request form from your lender or Mapping Your Future
  • Complete the deferment request form and return it to your lender. (You may request an In-School Deferment without completing a deferment form. See your lender for details.)
  • Provide any required, supporting documentation and/or certifications to your lender.
  • Continue to make your student loan payments until your deferment request is approved. If you stop making your payments, you may default and lose your deferment eligibility.

Unable to Make Your Payments

If you are unable to make your monthly payments, contact your lender immediately to avoid default by considering alternative repayment options. In addition to loan deferment, forbearance or forgiveness may be options, depending upon your circumstances.