College is expensive, and recent graduates are dealing with an average of $30,000 in student loan debt. Meanwhile, the average starting salary for fresh graduates is only $47,000. The disparity between these two figures can be scary, and most people have to tighten their budgets to make their monthly student loan payments.
However, defaulting on your student loan is never a good idea. First, student loans are not discharged even if you file for bankruptcy. Second, defaulting can lead to serious consequences such as tanking your credit score and losing your eligibility to tax refunds and federal benefits.
If you’re struggling to pay off your student debt, consider getting a student loan deferment or lower your monthly payment with Chipper instead.
What Is a Student Loan Deferment?
Deferment refers to the process of suspending loan payments. When your application for a deferment is approved, you don’t have to make monthly loan payments during the specified period.
For those with a federal loan or a subsidized consolidation, deferment happens without accruing interest. For those with unsubsidized private loans, the interest continues to accrue during the period of deferment.
Who Is Eligible for Student Loan Deferment?
Some people are qualified for deferment programs to encourage them to earn their degree and work in certain professions, such as teachers, nurses, and public service employees.
The following people may also be eligible to defer student loans:
- People attending school in an eligible institution at least half-time
- People participating in a graduate fellowship program, a residency program, or a career-related internship
- People attending school after active military duty or while on active duty
- People who are unemployed or suffering economic hardship
- People participating in a rehabilitation program for those with disabilities
- People with a parent with a Parent PLUS loan
Take note that most student loan deferments are only available to those with a federal student loan. If you have a private student loan, you have limited options. It’s best to get in touch with your lender to see if they offer deferment, whether you qualify, and how you can apply.
How Do You Defer a Student Loan?
If you’re wondering how to defer student loans, here’s what you need to know:
- Make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria listed above.
- Send your loan provider or servicer your application.
- Include the necessary documentation. For instance, if you’re applying for deferment based on unemployment, include proof of unemployment benefits.
- Don’t stop making payments immediately after you send out the application. Wait for your loan provider to approve it.
The length of the deferment will depend on the type of deferment you’re eligible for. For example, if you’re applying for deferment due to financial hardship, the maximum period is three years. When determining the length of the deferment period, make sure that you take your own circumstances into account.
If you have a federal or subsidized loan, a student loan deferment can be a great option to get your finances in order. However, student loan deferment can be more detrimental to your finances if you have a private or unsubsidized loan that capitalizes interest during the deferment period. This is why utilizing services like Chipper can prevent you from falling into hurtful financial situations. We can help the average student loan borrower save up to $308 per month on their repayment plan! Get started linking your loans and seeing your potential options today.