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Deferment vs. Forbearance: Demystifying Your Student Loan Relief OptionsFES inc. blog772.1431889432035

Deferment vs. Forbearance: Demystifying Your Student Loan Relief Options

Student loans: the ever-present reminder that knowledge has a price tag, and sometimes, that price tag feels like it comes with an eviction notice attached. Life throws curveballs, budgets crumble, and suddenly, those monthly payments loom like storm clouds over your financial horizon. Fear not, stressed borrowers! We're here to shine a light on two powerful tools in your arsenal –

deferment and forbearance

. These options offer temporary relief, but understanding their distinct nuances is crucial before hitting that pause button.

So, what's the difference? Both

deferment and forbearance

temporarily suspend your student loan payments, giving you valuable breathing room. But just like the difference between a drizzle and a downpour, the impact on your loan varies significantly.


Think of this as the "time-out" option. During deferment, your loan interest accrues, meaning it keeps adding up to your total balance. However, there's a silver lining: some federal loans (not private loans) stop accruing interest during specific types of deferment, like those for military service or economic hardship.


This is more like a temporary "payment hold." Your loan continues accruing interest, potentially increasing your total debt faster than a hummingbird on Red Bull. Forbearance is available for both federal and private loans, but unlike deferment, it offers less flexibility and fewer restrictions.

Who qualifies? The eligibility criteria differ for each option, and knowing which applies to you is essential.


Generally reserved for specific situations like:

Financial hardship: Temporary job loss, unexpected medical bills, or other circumstances impacting your ability to pay.

Military service: Actively serving military personnel qualify for deferment.

Peace Corps or AmeriCorps: Volunteering with these programs comes with a deferment perk.

Medical issues: Serious illness or disability that hinders your ability to work.


While similar situations might qualify, forbearance is often used for shorter-term hardships or when deferment options aren't available. Keep in mind that private lenders have their own forbearance criteria, so check directly with them.

Weighing the Pros and Cons: Here's a breakdown to help you choose the right option:



Interest may not accrue for certain federal loans during specific deferments.

More flexibility and protection compared to forbearance.

No negative impact on your credit score (unless you default later). Cons:

Interest still accrues on most loans, adding to your overall debt.

Doesn't erase past missed payments.

Not all situations or loan types qualify.



Can be used for both federal and private loans.

Offers temporary relief from immediate financial pressure. Cons:

Interest always accrues, potentially snowballing your debt.

Can negatively impact your credit score.

May not be as readily available as deferment.

Beyond the Pause Button: Remember, both

deferment and forbearance

are temporary solutions. Use them strategically to overcome short-term hurdles, not as long-term debt crutches. Explore other options like income-driven repayment plans or loan refinancing for longer-term financial adjustments.

Demystifying Your Relief Options:

Navigating student loan complexities can feel like deciphering hieroglyphics while blindfolded. By understanding the finer points of deferment and forbearance, you can choose the right temporary pause, empowering yourself to conquer your debt mountain, one informed decision at a time.

So, breathe easy, fellow borrowers. Knowledge is power, and with it, you can navigate the terrain of student loan relief options with confidence. Now go forth, assess your situation, choose the right pause, and remember, financial well-being is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the scenic stops, learn from the detours, and keep your eyes on the peak of financial freedom!

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Assisting with Student Loan Document Preparation Financial Enhancement Services (FES) is dedicated to professional document preparation, and we do not negotiate, adjust, or settle debts. Every federal student borrower has the opportunity and is encouraged to apply for federal repayment or forgiveness programs directly through the US Department of Education at no cost. FES is not a lender or legal advice service. For legal or financial advice, please consult with a professional attorney or financial advisor. Each revision maintains the original message while improving clarity and conciseness, ensuring that the information is easily digestible and accessible for readers.