Updated on July 27, 2021
If you’re like many Americans, student loan payments may account for a large chunk of your monthly budget. If you’re feeling stressed about making these payments and wondering if there’s any help available, check out the resources below.
What is Student Loan Deferment?
Generally speaking, a deferment on any loan is an arrangement with your lender that allows you to temporarily stop making payments on the loan. Many student loans offer options to defer payments in times of financial hardship. This hardship may be due to lack of work while your education is continuing, unemployment, illness, military service, or another life- or income-altering event.
How student loan deferment impacts interest (i.e. whether it continues to accrue during the time of deferments), the total amount you’ll owe, and any loan forgiveness programs you’re hoping to qualify for may vary based on the loan servicer and the terms of your loan.
Additionally, not everyone or every circumstance qualifies for student loan deferment. You can learn more about federal student loan deferment options here. For private student loans, start by contacting your loan servicer directly.
How Can I Get Help With My Student Loans?
If you’re having trouble paying any bills, you’ll want to reach out to the company or lender right away to see what assistance may be available to you. They may have repayment options that can help lower your monthly payments or temporarily suspend payment altogether.
Having late or missed payments can negatively impact your credit, with negative information typically remaining on your credit report for up to seven years. This can impact your ability to accomplish other financial goals or get approved for loans you need in the future, so it’s important to reach out to companies or lenders before you miss a payment.
Help for Federal Student Loan Borrowers
If you’re struggling to pay your federal student loans, the Federal Student Aid site states you should immediately contact and discuss options with the organization that handles billing and other services for your loan. This can help you avoid defaulting on your loan.
Your loan servicer for federal student loans may vary depending on the loan type and who has been assigned to service it. If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1.800.433.3243.
Help for Private Student Loan Borrowers
To get assistance with any private student loans, reach out to your loan servicer as soon as you anticipate that you’ll be unable to make your loan payments. Asking for help before missing a payment can help protect your credit if you’re able to enter into a new agreement without missing any payments.
Money Management During Financial Hardship
Maybe you’re having difficulty making student loan payments. Or maybe you’re facing general money management challenges. Whatever the cause, you’re not alone. Check out our WalletWorks page for valuable resources that’ll help you manage your money and take charge of your financial future.