Student Loan Forbearance

Student Loan Forbearance

Most forbearance requests are not automatically approved. You will need to make the request via an application form, submitted to your loan servicer. For some types of forbearance, you must also provide your servicer with additional documentation. This will offer proof you meet the eligibility criteria for the type of forbearance you are requesting. If you are enrolled at least part-time in an eligible school, you will most likely be placed into a deferment. If you do not automatically receive a deferment, you should contact the school where you are enrolled for assistance. Make sure you continue to pay your student loan until you have confirmed your Deferment or Forbearance.

Am I Eligible for Forbearance?

Your eligibility depends on the type of forbearance. There are two types you may qualify under:

  1. General Forbearance – Also known as discretionary. This is in situations where your servicer decides whether or not to grant your request.
  2. Mandatory Forbearance – In circumstances when your servicer is required to grant the forbearance because you meet all required criteria.

You can request a general forbearance if you are temporarily unable to make your monthly student loan payments for the following reasons:

  • Financial difficulties
  • Medical expenses
  • Change in employment
  • Other reasons acceptable to your servicer

You may be eligible for a mandatory forbearance if:

  • You are in a medical or dental internship or residency program and you meet specific Direct Loans or FFEL Program loan requirements
  • The total amount you owe each month for all the student loans you received is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income, for up to three years
  • You are serving in an AmeriCorps position for which you received a national service award
  • You are performing a teaching service that would qualify you for teacher loan forgiveness
  • You qualify for partial repayment of your loans under the U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program
  • You are a member of the National Guard and have been activated by a governor, but you are not eligible for a military deferment

When is Forbearance Right for Me?

If you are suffering a temporary event that is preventing you from paying your Federal student loan, forbearance may be a good solution. If you expect the event to be long-term or do not see an end to the current circumstances, a better option may be to consider changing to an income-driven repayment plan. Income-driven repayment plans use your income and family size to determine what your monthly payment will be. It is possible that this option can reduce your payment to zero.

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