If you are having trouble making your payments, there are additional options that may help, at least temporarily. Let's look at what Deferment and Forbearance are and how they could be a benefit to you during your repayment.
When your loan is deferred, repayment of the principal and interest on your loan is temporarily suspended. If you choose to defer your student loan, you’ll remain in good standing on your loan obligation — i.e., not delinquent or in default.
Deferments are not automatic, so you’ll need to submit a request to your loan servicer. If you’re enrolled in school at least half time and you would like to request an in-school deferment, contact your school’s financial aid office as well.
Deferment application forms should be available on your loan servicer’s website. If you do not know which entity services your loans, visit the National Student Loan Data System at www.NSLDS.ed.gov to identify your loan servicer(s).
The federal government may pay the interest on your loans during a period of deferment if it is a Federal Perkins or subsidized loan, but it will not do so for unsubsidized or PLUS loans. In those cases, you can pay the interest during a deferment or you can allow the interest to accrue (accumulate). If you decide not to pay the interest on your loan during deferment, it will be capitalized (added to your principal balance), and the amount you pay in the future will be higher.
If you have difficulty making your scheduled loan payments, but you don’t qualify for a deferment, your loan servicer(s) may be able to grant you a forbearance.
With a forbearance, you may be able to stop making payments or reduce your monthly payment for up to 12 months.
Before pursuing forbearance, it may make more financial sense to pursue IDR plans. Remember, your payments under an IDR plan are based on your income and family size and a qualifying payment could be $0, and that zero dollar payment counts toward the years of forgiveness for that given repayment plan.