Deferment Eligibility

 
 
 

Once you leave the lending institution, you may be eligible for periods of deferment, during which interest does not accrue and repayment of principal is not required.

For additional eligibility requirements, click on the highlighted word or phrase below.

Deferment Criteria Federal Perkins/National Direct disbursed on or after 07/01/93 Federal Perkins disbursed between 07/01/87 & 07/01/93 National Direct disbursed between 10/01/80 & 07/01/93 National Direct disbursed before 10/01/80 National Defense
1. Half-time enrollment No limit
2. Less than half-time enrollment as a regular student N/A N/A N/A N/A 3 years *2
3. Rehabilitation training No limit No limit *5 No limit *5 No limit *5 No limit *5
4. Graduate Fellowship Study No limit No limit *5 No limit *5 No limit *5 No limit *5
5. Eligible Internship or residency program N/A 2 years 2 years N/A N/A
6. Unemployment 3 years 3 years *5 3 years *5 3 years *5 3 years *5
7. Economic Hardship 3 years 3 years *5 3 years *5 3 years *5 3 years *5
8. Hardship as determined by the school N/A No Limit *2 No Limit *2 No Limit *2 No Limit *2
9. Law enforcement/ corrections officer See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
10. Peace Corps/ACTION Program volunteer See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
11. Full-time volunteer for tax exempt organization in service comparable to Peace Corps or ACTION N/A 3 years 3 years N/A N/A
12. U.S. Armed Services See Detail See Detail See Detail See Detail See Detail
13. Officer in Commissioned Corps of U.S. Public Health Service N/A 3 years 3 years N/A N/A
14. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps N/A 3 years N/A N/A N/A
15. Nurse/Medical Technician providing health services See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
16. Temporary total disability or care of temporarily totally disabled spouse/dependent N/A 3 years 3 years *4 N/A N/A
17. Pregnancy, care of newborn or newly adopted child N/A 6 months N/A N/A N/A
18. Mother of pre-schooler working or returning to work who makes no more than $1 above minimum wage N/A 1 year *1 N/A N/A N/A
19. Employment in Head Start Program See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
20. Teacher in designated low income school See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
21. Teacher of special education, including teachers of infants, toddlers, children, or youth with disabilities See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
22. Provider of early intervention services See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
23. Teacher of mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual education or other field of expertise determined by state education agency to have a shortage of qualified teachers See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
24. Provider or supervisor of provision of services to high-risk children from low income communities and their families See Footnote 3 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5 See Footnote 3 & 5
25. Forbearance – if your Title IV debt burden equals or exceeds 20% of your gross income, you may be eligible for forbearance 3 years renewable
annually
3 years renewable annually 3 years renewable annually 3 years renewable annually 3 years renewable annually
26. Public Defender See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6
27. Teacher of pre-kindergarten or child care program See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6
28. Librarian in or serving a designated low-income school See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6
29. Speech/ Language Pathologist in a designated low-income school See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6
30. Firefighter See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6
31. Faculty at a Tribal college or university See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6 See Footnote 3 & 6

*1 Limited to borrowers who had no outstanding balance on any National Direct or Defense Student Loan on July 1, 1987.

*2 Principal and interest may both be deferred, but interest continues to accrue.

*3 Deferment is for period in which a borrower is engaged in service eligible for Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation.

*4 Applies to borrower or care of spouse only. Does not allow deferment for the care of temporarily disabled dependent.

*5 Benefit eligibility is effective 10/1/1998

*6 Benefit eligibility is effective 8/14/2008

Eligibility and Definitions

Half-time Enrollment. Borrowers may defer their loans if they are enrolled at least half time in a degree-granting program at an institution of higher education. Deferment is available on all NDSL/Perkins, Nursing, Health Profession, and Primary Care loans. Deferment must be requested for each term of enrollment.

Rehabilitation Training. NDSL/Perkins borrowers who are enrolled in a course of study that is part of a certified rehabilitation training program for disabled individuals are eligible for deferment of principal and interest. Deferment is unlimited. For NDSL/Perkins loans made before July 1, 1993, eligibility began on 10/1/1998. The rehabilitation agency must be licensed, approved, or certified by one of the following:

  • A State agency with responsibility for vocational rehabilitation programs.
  • A State agency with responsibility for drug abuse treatment programs.
  • A State agency with responsibility for mental health services programs.
  • A State agency with responsibility for alcohol abuse treatment programs.
  • The Department of Veteran Affairs.

The program must provide the borrower with rehabilitation services under a written plan that:

  • Is individualized to meet the borrower’s needs;
  • Specifies the date on which the services began and when they are expected to end; and
  • Is structured in a way that requires a substantial commitment by the borrower to his or her rehabilitation.

Graduate Fellowship Study. NDSL/Perkins borrowers may defer their loans for enrollment in a graduate fellowship program approved by the Education Department or engaged in a graduate or postgraduate fellowship-support study outside the United States. All of the following borrower and program requirements must be met.

Borrower Requirements:

  • Borrower must hold a Baccalaureate degree.
  • Borrower has been accepted or recommended by an institution of higher education for acceptance into a graduate fellowship program.

Fellowship Program Requirements:

  • The graduate fellowship program must be full time.
  • The graduate fellowship program must have an anticipated completion date.
  • The fellowship program must provide financial support to the fellow for at least six-months.
  • As part of the graduate fellowship award process the applicant (borrower) must provide a written statement of objectives.
  • The fellowship program must require the fellow to submit periodic reports, projects or evidence of progress.
  • In the case of study at a foreign university, accepts the course of study for completion of the fellowship program.

Medical Fellowship. For Health Profession and Primary Care loans only, up to 2 years of deferment is available to those engaged in medical fellowships.

Internship or Residency. Nursing and Health Profession/Primary Care loan borrowers may receive Advanced Professional Training deferment for training beyond the first degree, including internships and residencies. Training must be in the discipline for which you received your loan. NDSL/Perkins borrowers with loans made after 6/30/1993 are not eligible for internship/residency deferment. Other borrowers may qualify for up to two years of internship/residency deferment if all of the following requirements are met:

  • Borrower has a bachelor's degree before being admitted to the program; and
  • The program is required by the State licensing agency for certification for professional practice or service; and
  • The deferment request states the borrower has been accepted into the internship program; and
  • The deferment request states the anticipated date of internship/residency completion.

Unemployment. NDSL/Perkins borrowers are eligible for up to 3 years of deferment if unable to secure full time employment. The following documentation should be provided:

  • Verification of unemployment, such as unemployment compensation.
  • Attempts to secure employment, such as registration with the State or county Unemployment Office.

Economic Hardship. NDSL/Perkins borrowers are considered to have an economic hardship if:

Working full time but earning an amount that is less than the federal minimum wage or 150% of the poverty line, in the State of residence, for the borrower's family size (whichever is greater); or

Student loan debt is excessive in comparison to income as defined by loan program regulations. The calculation is complex, so contact your student loan representative if you think you may qualify.

Hardship. The deferment covers principal only; interest continues to accrue. The benefit is available for periods of prolonged illness or unemployment, as the discretion of your lending school.

Peace Corps/ACTION Program Volunteer. For Federal Perkins loans made after 6/30/1993 the deferment is available only for periods during which a borrower is requesting cancellation. For NDSL/Perkins loans made before 7/1/1993 the deferment is available for up to 3 years of full-time Peace Corps service. Borrower must serve at least one full year to receive any deferment. For Nursing, Health Profession, and Primary Care loans, up to 3 years of deferment is available.

Volunteer. For NDSL/Perkins loans made before 7/1/1993, up to 3 years of deferment is available. Service must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Borrower must serve at least one full year; and
  • The program is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; and
  • The program provides services to low-income persons and their communities to assist in eliminating poverty and poverty-related human, social, and environmental conditions; and
  • The borrower receives only a stipend as compensation; and
  • The borrower does not give religious instruction, conduct worship services, or engage in religious proselytizing as part of his/her duties.

Armed Service (Military). For NDSL/Perkins loans unlimited deferment is available to Armed Forces Reservists and National Guard personnel called to active duty and to regular military personnel assigned to duty stations other than their normal stations due to war, military operation, or national emergency.

For NDSL/Perkins loans made after 6/30/1993 borrowers may request deferment for a period during which they will qualify for cancellation (serving a full, consecutive 12 months in an area of hostilities that qualifies for special pay under USC 37, Sec. 310).

For NDSL/Perkins loans made before July 1, 1993 up to 3 years of deferment is available for regular active duty in the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.

For Nursing, Health Profession and Primary Care Loans, up to 3 years of deferment is available for regular active duty in the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard.
Temporary Total Disability. (Unable to work or attend school due to illness or injury). Borrowers with a NDSL/Perkins loans made before 7/01/1993 may receive a maximum of 3 years deferment because of their own temporary disability or because they are providing full time care to a temporarily disabled spouse. Borrowers whose first loans were made between 7/1/1987 and 6/30/1993 also may apply for deferment when caring for a disabled, dependent child.
You must provide an affidavit from a qualified physician that states the nature of the medical condition and its expected duration.

Temporary Total Disability. (Unable to work or attend school due to illness or injury). Borrowers with a NDSL/Perkins loans made before 7/01/1993 may receive a maximum of 3 years deferment because of their own temporary disability or because they are providing full time care to a temporarily disabled spouse. Borrowers whose first loans were made between 7/1/1987 and 6/30/1993 also may apply for deferment when caring for a disabled, dependent child.

You must provide an affidavit from a qualified physician that states the nature of the medical condition and its expected duration.

Mother of Pre-schooler, Returning to Work. The borrower must be a mother of pre-school aged children and working or returning to the workforce and earning no more than $1.00 above the federal minimum wage. NDSL/Perkins borrowers with loans made between 7/1/1987 - 6/30/1993 are eligible. Submit certified copies of your child(ren)'s birth certificate(s) and verification of wages (payroll check stub showing hourly rate or letter signed by employer).

Law Enforcement or Corrections Officer. 100% cancellation over five years (15/15/20/20/30%) on NDSL/Perkins loans. A borrower qualifies if s/he is a sworn law enforcement officer or a person whose principal responsibilities are unique to the criminal justice system. A borrower whose duties are supportive or administrative does not qualify. In addition, the borrower must be employed by an eligible employing agency: A local, State, or Federal law enforcement or corrections agency or facility that is publicly funded and has as its principal activities crime prevention, control or reduction, or the enforcement of criminal law.

Nurse or Medical Technician. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) on NDSL/Perkins loans. "Nurse" is defined as a licensed practical nurse, a registered nurse, or other individual who is licensed by the appropriate State agency to provide nursing services. "Medical Technician" is defined as an allied health professional that is certified, registered, or licensed by the appropriate State agency. "Allied health professional" is someone who assists, facilitates, or complements the work of physicians and other specialists in the health care system.

Head Start/Pre-kindergarten/Child Care. 100% loan cancellation (15% per academic year) on NDSL/Perkins loans for employment as a full-time staff member in a preschool program carried out by the Head Start Act or a pre-kindergarten or child care program that is licensed or regulated by the State, if:

  • The program operates for a complete academic year, or its equivalent; and
  • The borrower's salary does not exceed the salary of a comparable employee working in the local educational agency of the area served by the Head Start program.

Special Education Teachers. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) on NDSL/Perkins loans. Borrowers must be teaching infants, toddlers, children, or youths with disabilities, in a public or other non-profit elementary or secondary school system. Students may be aged birth to 21 years and require special education because of disability as defined in 602(3) of the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Early Intervention Services. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) on NDSL/Perkins loans. Borrowers must be providers of early intervention services in a public or other non-profit program under public supervision. "Early intervention services" are developmental services designed to meet a handicapped infant' s or toddler's (individual under 3 years of age) needs in physical, cognitive, language, speech, psycho-social development or self-help skills.

Shortage Area Teacher. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) on NDSL/Perkins loans. Borrowers must teach full time in mathematics, science, bilingual education, foreign language, or any other field where the State education agency determines there is a shortage of qualified teachers.

Provider of Services to High-risk Children. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) on NDSL/Perkins loans. Borrower must be employed full time by a public or private nonprofit child/family service agency and must provide or supervise the provision of services to high-risk children from low-income communities and the families of such children. "High-risk children" are children who are low-income or at risk of abuse/neglect, have been abused/neglected, reside in placements outside their homes, or are involved in the juvenile justice system".

Public Defender. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) for a full time attorney employed in a defender organization established in accordance with USC Title 18, Sec. 3006A(g)(2). Employment first eligible on August 14, 2008.

Librarian. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) for a full-time librarian with a master's degree in library science who is employed:

  • In an elementary or secondary school designated by the Education Department as having a high concentration of students from low-income families. Not all schools serving low-income populations will qualify.
  • In a public library serving a geographical area that contain one or more schools designated by the Education Department as having a high concentration of students from low-income families. Not all schools serving low-income populations will qualify.

Speech/Language Pathologist. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) for a full-time speech language pathologist with a master's degree working exclusively with schools designated by the Education Department as having a high concentration of students from low-income families. Not all schools serving low-income populations will qualify.

Firefighter. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) for full time employment as a firefighter for service to a local, State, or Federal fire department or fire district.

Tribal Faculty. 100% cancellation over 5 years (15/15/20/20/30%) for full time employment as a faculty member at a Tribal College or University as defined in Sec. 303 of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.