Loan Deferment/Forbearance

There are times when you are not required to make payments on your loans due to recognized situations when loan repayment would be too difficult to manage. Most of the situations approved for deferment involve times when your income is probably too low to make your payments. You are never required to defer your loan payments but if you are in the following situations, you may want to take advantage of the deferment option available to you and defer making payments on your loans.

The list below is meant to give you an idea of the deferment options available, the actual deferments available to you will depend on the type of loan and when you received it. You should check your promissory note for the terms of deferments available to you. The servicer of your loan will also have more information on what deferments you qualify for.

These are the more common type of loan deferments available:

  • In school-generally enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school
  • Enrolled in a U.S. Department of Education approved rehabilitation re-training program for disabled individuals
  • Economic hardship-defined in various ways for the different loan programs but usually involve a measurement of low-income due to less than full-time employment or employment in a very low paying position. Your monthly income or inability to gain any employment would need to be documented and meet the test for low-income/loan repayment measurements used.
  • Peace Corps participation can also qualify for economic hardship deferment for up to 3 years, but no longer than your service appointment. Depending on the loan, certain other service organizations similar to the Peace Corps might also qualify for a deferment such as VISTA, AmeriCorps, etc.
  • Active Duty Military-you must be in active duty or recently on active duty to possibly qualify for this deferment.
  • Graduate Fellowship program-you must be in a U.S. Department of Education approved fellowship program to qualify for a deferment.

These are a few of the many deferment options available. You can check with the Direct Loan Servicer for a full list of the deferments and download forms to apply for the deferment. If you have Perkins, Health Profession, Primary Care or Nursing Student Loans you'll also want to check with the UW Servicer for the deferments that apply to those loan programs. If you are requesting completion of a deferment form for UW enrollment, please check with our Registrar's Office for the form you need to complete.

If you don't qualify for a deferment but are still having difficulties repaying your loans, you should look at the options for receiving forbearance. Forbearance is an arrangement to postpone or reduce your monthly payment amount for a limited and specific period during which you are charged interest. If you indicate a temporary inability, but willingness to pay the loan(s), you may ask for or be offered a forbearance. For all Direct Loans and Perkins Loans, interest that accrues during forbearance is the responsibility of the borrower.

You do need to meet certain conditions to qualify for forbearance of your loan payment. Check with your Direct Loan Servicer for Stafford Loans and with the UW Servicer for Perkins and Nursing Loans. We have linked to the Direct Loan Servicer that most of our students have been assigned, but you may have been assigned one of the new Servicers and you'll need to contact that servicer directly. If you are unsure who services your loan, please check on the National Student Loan Data System for information and links to your Direct Loan Servicer.