JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Deferment of Stafford and PLUS Loans

Information provided here applies to both Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and Federal Direct Loans.

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, or others, prevent you from making payments, you may be eligible for loan deferment.

Deferment allows you to temporarily postpone (defer) your student loan payments for a period of time, for a specific reason.  The federal government will pay the interest accrued during periods of deferment for subsidized loans.  For unsubsidized and PLUS loans, only the principal is deferred; you are responsible for paying the interest during the deferment, or it may be added to your loan balance (capitalized). 

You must request a deferment through your loan servicer, providing required documents for approval and if you meet all eligibility requirements, the deferment will be granted. 

Check with your loan servicer 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 the My Federal Student Aid website.

Deferment Types

There are many different types of deferments, and each type has a specific time limitation associated with it. The U.S. Department of Education provides information to assist you in determining your deferment eligibility based on the disbursement date of your oldest outstanding loan.

Requesting a Deferment

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

  • Contact your loan servicer, who will determine if you are eligible for a deferment and provide you with the proper deferment request form. Deferment eligibility is based on the disbursement date of your oldest outstanding loan.
  • Complete the deferment request form and return it to your loan servicer. (You may request an In-School Deferment without completing a deferment form. Contact your loan servicer for details.)
  • Provide any required, supporting documentation and/or certifications.
  • 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 loan servicer immediately to avoid default by considering alternative repayment options. In addition to loan deferment, forbearance or forgiveness may be options, depending upon your circumstances.