Deferment is a period of time when you are not required to make payments on your federal student loan. If your loan type is a subsidized Stafford Loan, the federal government will pay your interest during deferment periods.


If your loan type is unsubsidized Stafford, parent PLUS, or PLUS for graduate/professional students, you are still responsible for paying the interest that will continue to accrue during authorized periods of deferment. If you do not make interest payments during deferment, the amount of interest will be added to your principal balance when your deferment ends, increasing your total debt.


Deferment types vary depending on the type of loan as well as the date when you borrowed. Deferment types and eligibility criteria are outlined by the U.S. Department of Education.

Requesting a deferment

  • Contact your loan holder or servicer. If you do not know this information, you may look it up on the NSLDS website. You will need the PIN you established when you submitted your FAFSA to access your data.
  • Be sure to provide all required documentation.
  • Keep a copy of your deferment request documentation, and follow up with your loan holder until your deferment is granted or denied.
  • Do not stop making payments until you receive a written notice that your deferment is granted.
  • Note when your deferment is scheduled to end and know the date you must begin making payments again.

More repayment relief

If you do not qualify for a deferment but are having difficulty repaying your loan, the U.S. Department of Education offers additional types of repayment relief.