Defer Student Loan Payments to Stay Afloat

Borrowers have several options for putting off federal loan repayments until a better time.

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Need to postpone paying back your student loans? There are several different student loan deferment options that allow borrowers under certain circumstances to put off paying back their loans. A deferment can help by suspending your monthly student loan payments before you get really far behind. But remember: A deferment has to be in place sooner rather than later, because you are not eligible for a deferment if you have already defaulted on your student loans.

Examples of deferment options available for federal student loans are in-school deferments for students enrolled at least half time; unemployment deferments; economic hardship deferments; and military deferments. Perkins loans have some special deferments including for full-time law enforcement officers and volunteers in programs such as the Peace Corps.

[Learn the 11 steps to relief from federal student loans.]

During a period of deferment you don't have to make monthly payments and interest does not accrue on your subsidized loans. However, interest keeps adding up on all your unsubsidized student loans, so unless you pay the interest as you go, you are likely to owe even more after the deferment than before.

Deferments are only one way to get student loan relief. Borrowers expecting to be broke in the long term should consider choosing Income-Based Repayment instead of deferment. These payments can be as low as $0 for some borrowers.

[Visit our Student Loan Center for more information on loans.] provides details on these deferments and others. The U.S. Department of Education's Guide to Federal Student Aid also offers information on deferment options.

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