Steps to fill out the 8 types of Student Loan Deferment Request Forms

How to fill out the student loan deferment form

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Steps to fill out request forms for eight types of student loan deferment.

Student debt can take more than 20 years to pay off — but that doesn’t mean you need to put your life on hold if you have federal loans. You can hit the pause button on your student loan repayments by applying for deferment when you want to go back to school, if you lose your job, get deployed and more.

We take you through what you need to do to apply for deferment and even touch on your options for private student loans.

How to apply for deferment on your federal student loans

Unfortunately, Federal Student Aid (FSA) doesn’t have online deferment application forms, so you’ll have to fill them out by hand and mail them in to your servicer. FSA also provides different forms that depend on your reason for deferment, so make sure you’re filling out the right one. You can download all federal deferment forms in English or Spanish from the FSA website.

Use dark ink and write clearly while filling out your application, starting over with a new one if you make any mistakes. FSA also requires borrowers to write dates in a month-day-year (mm-dd-yyyy) format. If you have multiple servicers for your federal loans, you’ll need to fill out and send one form to each servicer.

Here are descriptions and guidance on how to fill out the various forms offered by FSA:

Economic Hardship Deferment Request form

  • Who it’s for: Borrowers who are experiencing economic hardship or want to defer their loans while they’re in the Peace Corps.
  • How long it lasts: 12 months per application, up to a total of 36 months.
  • Eligible loans: All Direct Loans, Perkins Loans and FFEL loans issued after July 1, 1993.
Section 1: Borrower information

Write your name, contact information and Social Security number in the required fields. If any of your information has changed since you last contacted the Department of Education, check the box at the top of the section.

Section 2: Borrower determination of deferment eligibility

This section is to make sure that you’re eligible for this loan and determine what documents you need to include.

If you’ve already been granted deferment for another type of federal loan, check “yes” on question one, attach your document of deferment and skip ahead to Section 3.

If you qualify for one of the following public assistance programs, you’ll need to attach documents showing payments from that program. Check “no” for question one and “yes” for question two and move on to Section 3.

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Other state public assistance or means-based assistance programs

If you’re a Peace Corps volunteer, you’ll need to attach documents stating how long you’re serving. Check “no” for questions one and two and “yes” for question three before continuing on to Section 3.

If you work full time but still need assistance, answer “no” for questions one through three and “yes” for question four. Write your monthly income — this can be your monthly salary or your gross adjusted income from your previous tax return divided by 12 — and your family size. You’ll need to attach proof of your income — paystubs or recent tax returns — when you submit this document.

You’re not eligible for economic hardship deferment if you aren’t employed full-time or your monthly income is more than 150% of the poverty guideline for the number of people in your family. You can find this poverty guideline on page three of the application.

Section 3: Borrower requests, understandings, certifications and authorizations

This section details the terms and conditions of your deferment. Write the date when you want your deferment to begin and check the box below if you would like to make interest-only repayments — rather than no repayments.

Sign and date the bottom of the form where it says Borrower’s Signature and Date. Make sure you’ve written your name and Social Security number at the top of the second page.

Sending it in

Send your form and documents to your loan servicer’s mailing address. If you have more than one servicer, you’ll need to send a form and supporting documents to each one. Make sure you’re sending copies of your documents rather than the originals — you won’t get them back.

Graduate Fellowship Deferment Request form

  • Who it’s for: Graduate students who are enrolled in a full-time fellowship program.
  • How long it lasts: The length of your program.
  • Eligible loans: Direct Loans, FFEL loans and Perkins Loans.
Section 1: Borrower information

In this section you’ll provide your basic contact information and Social Security number. If your contact information has changed since you last communicated with the Department of Education — say you moved or got a new phone number — check the box at the top of the section.

Section 2: Borrower determination of deferment eligibility

The point of this section is to make sure you’re eligible for graduate fellowship deferment. You’re good to go if you meet the following requirements:

  • You have a bachelor’s degree.
  • You’ve been accepted to a graduate fellowship program as a full-time student.
  • Your program offers financial support to cover at least six months of full-time study.
  • Your program requires you to fill out a written statement of your objectives.
  • Your program also requires you to hand in periodic progress reports or projects.
  • Your program accepts any time you spend at a foreign university toward completing your program.

Section 3: Borrower requests, understandings, certifications and authorization

This section details the terms and conditions of your deferment. If you want to make interest-only payments while your loan is in deferment, check the box under the I request section.

Carefully read the rest of the section before signing and dating the document. Make sure that your name and Social Security number are also printed clearly at the top of the second page.

Section 4: Authorized official’s certification

Bring this section to the administrative staff at your university to have it filled out. If you can’t bring it to your school for some reason, you can also attach an official letter from your school that contains the following information:

  • Your program start date and anticipated end date.
  • The name of your university.
  • Your university’s address.
  • The Office of Postsecondary Education Identification (OPEID) code, if applicable.
  • An official’s name, title, phone number and dated signature.

Sending it in

Once you and your school have completed all sections, mail it in to your loan servicer. If you have more than one servicer, send a completed form to each one.

In-School Deferment Request form

  • Who it’s for: Students enrolled full-time at a Title IV school, students who are enrolled at least half-time but not full-time at an eligible school with Direct Loans, Perkins Loans and FFEL loans issued after July 1, 2008 or have paid off any balances on a FFEL loan issued before July 1, 1987 before taking out another FFEL loan after July 1, 1987.
  • How long it lasts: Until you drop below half-time, or until six months after you drop below half-time for Direct PLUS borrowers.
  • Eligible loans: Direct Loans, FFEL loans and Perkins Loans.
Section 1: Borrower information

This section requires you to fill in your name, contact information and Social Security number. If any of your information has changed since you last reached out to the Department of Education, check the box at the top of the section.

Section 2: Borrower determination of deferment eligibility

You don’t need to do anything in this section other than read the eligibility requirements. Basically, you’re eligible if:

  • You’re enrolled full-time at any Title IV school.
  • You’re enrolled at least half-time but not full-time at a Title IV school and have:
    • Direct Loans.
    • Perkins Loans.
    • FFEL loans issued after July 1, 2008 or have FFEL loans issued between July 1, 1987 and July 1, 2008 and didn’t have any outstanding FFEL Loan balance from any loans issued before July 1, 1987.

Section 3: Borrower requests, understandings, certifications and authorization

This section is also more about reading than checking boxes. If you want to make interest-only repayments while your loans are deferred, check the box under the I request section at the bottom of page 1. If you want to defer any PLUS Loans for a six-month grace period after dropping below half-time, check the box below.

Carefully read all bullet points before signing and dating the form. Make sure that your name and Social Security number are also printed clearly at the top of the second page.

Section 4: Authorized official’s certification

After you’ve completed sections one and three, bring the form to your school’s administration to have them complete Section 4. If you can’t bring the form to your school, you can have your school report your enrollment to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at nsldsfap.edu.gov or also attach a document that includes the following information:

  • If you’re enrolled full time or half time.
  • If you’re a regular student.
  • When you first enrolled.
  • When your enrollment status ends.
  • When your school expects you to finish all program requirements.
  • The name and address of the school.
  • Your school’s Office of Postsecondary Education Identification (OPEID) code.
  • An official’s name, title, phone number and dated signature.

Sending it in

Mail your form and any documents to your loan servicer. If you have multiple servicers, you need to send an In-School Deferment Request form to each of them.

Military Service and Post-Active Duty Student Deferment Request form

  • Who it’s for: Borrowers who are on active duty related to wartime, a national emergency or military operation. Borrowers who were on active duty less than 13 months ago are also eligible. National Guard members can qualify for Military Service Deferment if they were called by the President or Secretary of Defense. They can only qualify for Post-Active Duty Deferment for service called by a governor.
  • How long it lasts: Military Service Deferment ends six months after your military service is over; Post-Active Duty Deferment ends either 13 months after you completed your active duty or if you re-enroll in school — whichever is sooner.
  • Eligible loans: Direct Loans, FFEL loans and Perkins Loans.

You can have someone complete this form on your behalf if you’re requesting Military Service Deferment and are unable to do so yourself.

Section 1: Borrower information

Fill out your personal information, including your name, contact details and Social Security number. If any of your information has changed since you last reached out to the Department of Education, check the box at the top of the section.

Section 2: Deferment request

In this section, carefully read the requirements and select which type of deferment you’re applying for: Military Service Deferment or Post-Active Duty Deferment. You can select both if you think you’ll need to defer your loans more after you complete your military service.

  • Military Service Deferment is for borrowers who are about to be on active duty that concerns a war, national emergency or another military operation. Military Service Deferment ends 180 days after your military service is over.
  • Post-Active Duty Deferment is for borrowers who have completed active duty concerning war, a national emergency or other military operation. It also includes members of the National Guard who were called to duty by a governor. It ends either 13 months after you completed your active duty or if you re-enroll in school — whichever is sooner.

After you select which type of deferment you want to apply for, write the name of the school where you were enrolled at least half-time either when you were called on active duty or up to six months before. Write the most recent date when you were enrolled at least half-time at that school.

Section 3: Borrower certifications and authorization

Read the text certifying the information on your form is true and allowing the Department of Education to contact you by phone. Then sign and date the form.

If you’re a representative, sign and date the form yourself, writing your name, address, phone number and relationship to the borrower.

Also, make sure that your name and Social Security number are printed clearly at the top of the second page.

Section 4: Authorized official’s certification

After completing the previous sections, bring this form to your commanding officer to have it certified. You also have the option of submitting documentation that contains the following information:

  • When your service begins and is expected to end.
  • Your position in the US armed services.
  • Whether your active duty is in connection with a war, a national emergency or a contingency operation.
  • The name of the operation.
  • Whether you qualify for special pay under 37 USC 310.
  • The name of your military branch or National Guard component.
  • The name, title, address, phone number and dated signature of your commanding officer.

Sending it in

Once you and your commanding officer have completed this form, mail it in along with any documents to your loan servicer. If you have more than one loan servicer, complete and send a form to each of them.

Parent PLUS Borrower Deferment Request form

  • Who it’s for: Parent borrowers who have a loan disbursed after June 30, 2008. Or, parent borrowers who were paying off a FFEL loan disbursed before July 1, 1993 when they took out a Parent PLUS Loan after June 30, 1993.
  • How long it lasts: Until six months after the student drops below half-time.
  • Eligible loans: Direct or FFEL PLUS Loans issued to parents.
Section 1: Borrower information

Fill in your name, contact information and Social Security number in the required areas. If your information has changed since you last contacted the Department of Education, check the box at the top of the section.

Section 2: Borrower determination of deferment eligibility

This section doesn’t require you to fill anything out, but it’s important that you read it carefully to make sure you’re eligible. Here’s how eligibility breaks down:

Loan requirements: You must be a parent who is paying off a Direct or Federal PLUS Loan:

  • It must be disbursed after June 30, 2008 -OR-
  • It can be disbursed after June 30, 1993 if:
    • You are paying off a FFEL Program loan that was disbursed before July 1, 1993 and your student is a dependent during the period you want to defer your loan.
    • You were paying off a FFEL Program loan disbursed before July 1, 1993 when you took out the Direct PLUS loan you want to defer.

Student requirements: The student must be either be:

  • Enrolled full-time.
  • Enrolled between half-time and full-time unless you were still paying off a FFEL loan issued before July 1, 1987 when you took out this Direct PLUS Loan or FFEL loan after June 30, 2008.

Section 3: Borrower requests, understandings, certifications and authorizations

Write the student’s name and Social Security number under the section I request. If you’d like to make interest-only repayments, check the first box. If you want to defer your loan for six months after your child drops below half-time, check the second box. Sign and date the form.

Also, make sure that your name and Social Security number are printed clearly at the top of the second page.

Section 4: Authorized official’s certification

Bring this form to your child’s university to have a school official complete this section. If you aren’t able to bring it to the school, you have the option of attaching a document with the following information instead:

  • Whether the student is enrolled full time or half time.
  • When the student’s enrollment starts, ends and when they’re expected to complete their program.
  • The name and address of the university.
  • The university’s Office of Postsecondary Education Identification (OPEID) code.
  • The official’s name, title, phone number and dated signature.

Sending it in

Once you complete your form, send a copy and any documents to your loan servicer. If you have multiple loan servicers, make sure to complete and send a form to each one.

Rehabilitation Training Deferment Request form

  • Who it’s for: Anyone enrolled in a rehabilitation program for a physical disability, drug or alcohol abuse, or mental health.
  • How long it lasts: The length of your program, or six months after your program ends if you have a Perkins Loan.
  • Eligible loans: Direct Loans, FFEL loans and Perkins Loans.
Section 1: Borrower information

Complete this section by filling in your name, contact information and Social Security number. If any of your information has changed since you last reached out to the Department of Education, check the box at the top of the section.

Section 2: Borrower determination of deferment eligibility

The idea of this section is to make sure you’re eligible for this type of deferment. You’re eligible if you’re in a program that:

  • Is licensed, approved, recognized or certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a state agency.
  • Has a written, individualized plan with specific start and end dates.
  • Conflicts with your ability to work at least 30 hours a week for at least three months.
  • Will provide you with vocational, mental health, drug or alcohol abuse rehabilitation services.

Section 3: Borrower requests, understandings, certifications and authorization

Read this section carefully to make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your deferment. If you’d like to make interest-only repayments on your unsubsidized loans, check the box under the I request section.

Sign and date the bottom of the loan, making sure that your name and Social Security number are printed clearly at the top of the second page.

Section 4: Authorized official’s certification

Once you’ve completed the previous sections, bring this form to your program to have an official complete this section. You can also attach a document containing the following information instead of completing this section:

  • Your program’s start and end dates.
  • The name and address of the institution.
  • Its Office of Postsecondary Education Identification (OPEID) code, if applicable.
  • A program official’s name, title, phone number and dated signature.

Sending it in

Mail your completed form and any additional documents to your loan servicer. Got more than one loan servicer? Send a deferment form to each of them to make sure all of your loans go into deferment.

Temporary Total Disability Deferment Request form

  • Who it’s for: Disabled borrowers or borrowers who are taking care of a disabled relative.
  • How long it lasts: Up to 36 months.
  • Eligible loans: Direct Loans and FFEL loans.

If you’re unable to fill out this form yourself, you may have a representative do it for you.

Section 1: Borrower information

Complete this section by filling out your name, address, phone number and Social Security number. If any of this information has changed since you last communicated with the Department of Education, check the box at the top of the section.

Section 2: Borrower determination of deferment eligibility

Completing this section will let you know if you qualify for this kind of deferment. You can qualify if you’re temporarily disabled or are caring for someone who is.

If you’re temporarily disabled, you must:

  • Not be able to work for at least 60 days.
  • Have an illness or injury that either occurred after you took out your loans or has gotten significantly worse since you took out your loan.

If you’re caring for someone who is disabled, you must:

  • Be taking care of a spouse or dependent.
  • Not be able to take care of them and hold a full-time job.
  • Give at least 90 days of care.

You can’t qualify for deferment just because you or your spouse are pregnant — unless there are physical complications.

If you have a FFEL loan, you must either:

  • Be paying off a loan issued before July 1, 1993.
  • Were paying off a FFEL loan issued before July 1, 1993 when you took out your current FFEL loan.

Section 3: Borrower requests, understandings, certifications and authorization

If you’re caring for a spouse or dependent, write their name and relationship to you at the top part of this section. If you want to make interest-only repayments, check the box below the field for your spouse or dependent’s name.

After carefully reading the rest of the section outlining the terms and conditions of your deferment, sign and date the form. If you’re a representative filling it out on someone else’s behalf, write your name, address, relationship to the borrower and phone number.

Also, make sure that your name and Social Security number are printed clearly at the top of the second page.

Section 4: Physician’s certification

After you’ve completed the rest of the form, bring it to your doctor or your spouse/dependent’s doctor to fill out Section 4. Alternately, you can attach a document from a doctor with the following information:

  • If you are unable to work or go to school for at least 60 days due to your condition.
  • If your spouse or dependent you’re caring for needs continuous care for at least 90 days.
  • When the condition began.
  • When it’s expected to end.
  • The diagnosis of you or the person you’re caring for.
  • The doctor’s name, contact information and dated signature.

Sending it in

Once you’ve completed the form, send it and any additional documents to your loan servicer. If there are multiple servicers, send a deferment request form to each of them.

Unemployment Deferment Request form

  • Who it’s for: Borrowers who are unemployed or can’t find a full-time job.
  • How long it lasts: Up to 36 months.
  • Eligible loans: Direct Loans, FFEL loans and Perkins Loans.
Section 1: Borrower information

Fill out your personal contact information and Social Security number. If any of this information has changed since you last reached out to the Department of Education, check the box at the top of this section.

Section 2: Borrower determination of deferment eligibility

The Department of Education uses this section to tell whether or not you’re eligible. To qualify for deferment, you must either be getting unemployment benefits or:

  • Are looking for but can’t find full-time employment in the US.
  • Haven’t rejected any full-time job offers because the salary was too low or you thought you were overqualified.
  • Have made at least six attempts to find a job in the past six months (for those who want to extend their unemployment deferment).
  • Are registered with an employment agency if there is one within 50 miles of your address.

If you’re receiving unemployment benefits, you must include documentation with your name, Social Security number and address showing that you are eligible to get unemployment benefits for the time you’re requesting deferment.

If you have FFEL loans, you have additional restrictions. Your loans must either be:

  • Disbursed before July 1, 1993 OR
  • Disbursed while you were paying off another FFEL loan disbursed before July 1, 1993.

Section 3: Borrower requests, understandings, certifications and authorization

Complete the top section of this form by writing in the date when you would like your deferment to begin. Check the box below if you want to make interest-only repayments during deferment.

Carefully read the bullet points detailing the terms and conditions of your deferment. Write in the date when you became unemployed or lost your full-time employment before signing and dating the form.

Also, make sure that your name and Social Security number are printed clearly at the top of the second page.

Sending it in

Once you’ve completed the form and gathered any documents proving you’re receiving unemployment benefits if applicable, send it to your loan servicer. If you have more than one servicer, make sure to send a deferment request form to each of them.

How federal deferment works

Deferment on federal student loans works by allowing you to stop making full repayments for a period of time. In most cases, your loans are automatically in deferment when you first take them out and continue to be until your grace period ends.

You can qualify for additional deferment for several reasons. These include including going back to school, getting a graduate fellowship, military deployment, disability and financial hardship.

With some types of loans, interest doesn’t accrue during the deferment period. However, with other types of loans where interest does accrue during the deferment period, you have the option of making interest-only repayments. Simply put, you won’t need to make any payments on any subsidized loans because they generally don’t gather interest during deferment. Unsubsidized loans do, however, and come with the option of making interest-only repayments.

During deferment, these loans generally don’t accrue interest…

  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • The subsidized part of any Direct Consolidation Loan
  • The subsidized part of any FFEL Consolidation Loan

During deferment, these loans do accrue interest…

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) PLUS Loans
  • The unsubsidized part of any Direct Consolidation Loan
  • The unsubsidized part of any FFEL Consolidation Loan

The case for interest-only repayments

While you aren’t required to make any payments while your loans are in deferment, you might want to seriously consider it if you have unsubsidized loans. That’s because of something called interest capitalization. Interest capitalization is when a lender adds any interest that accrues over time to your loan’s principal. Your servicer capitalizes your interest when you start making full repayments after deferment.

Since interest is a percentage of your loan’s principal, this means you’ll not only have to pay more on the loan principal, you’ll also have higher interest payments. In short: Your loan will be more expensive and you could end up with higher monthly payments if you aren’t on an income-driven repayment plan.

How deferment works with private student loans

Deferment isn’t always as straightforward with private student loans. Many lenders don’t offer deferment at all, or only offer it during the initial period while you’re in school.

Since not all lenders like to advertise their deferment options, its worth reaching out to see what’s available to you if you’re struggling with your repayments. Some private lenders have a formal deferment request process similar to federal student loans. But even if they don’t, most are willing to work with you — it doesn’t benefit anyone if you default.

Interested in learning more about how student loans work? Check out our guide to compare lenders, learn about repayment plans and explore other options for coping with student debt.

Interested in refinancing? Compare these providers

Rates last updated June 22nd, 2018
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Credible Student Loan Refinancing
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LendKey Student Loan Refinancing (with AutoPay)
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EDvestinU Consolidation & Refinancing Program
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Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
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LendingTree Student Loans
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Purefy Student Loan Refinancing
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Frequently asked questions

Anna Serio

Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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