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By Ryan Laspina
Analyst, Red Flags and External Reviews, APUS
As we approach the end of Financial Aid Awareness Month, it is time to touch on a difficult subject — loan repayment. Student loan repayment is a reality that borrowers must face after leaving school.
Some borrowers may be overwhelmed and not financially able to make standard monthly payments. However, there are other options for repaying your student loan.
For instance, loan servicers offer some programs that can help student borrowers. You can select from multiple repayment options, depending on your financial situation. These options include Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment.
But if your financial situation keeps you from being able to make any payments, you could apply for a deferment or forbearance from your loan servicer.
How You Can Qualify for a Student Loan Deferment
A deferment is a period of time when loan payments are postponed. There are certain circumstances that would make you eligible for a deferment:
- You are enrolled in school at half time or greater.
- You face unemployment or economic hardship.
- You are serving in the armed forces or working in the Peace Corps.
Loan Forbearance Is Another Repayment Option
Another option is forbearance, which is a postponement of loan payments for a specific amount of time. Forbearances are an option if you do not qualify for a deferment.
To qualify for a loan forbearance, you must demonstrate that you are undergoing financial hardship. That could be a loss of your job, an inability to secure employment, working as an unpaid intern or other situations that greatly affect your financial standing.
However, it is important to understand that the interest on your loan can still accrue while the loan is in forbearance or deferment.
Talk with Your Loan Servicer If You’re Struggling with Student Loan Payments
If you are struggling to make your monthly student loan payments, reach out immediately to your loan servicer and see what options are available. A loan deferment or forbearance should only be used as a last resort for temporary debt relief, but they are available to you if you truly need them.
Related link: U.S. Department of Education on how to repay your loans