Student Loans: Cancellation, Deferment, and Forbearance

How to defer your student loan payments, or cancel your loans altogether.

If you can't make payments on one or more of your student loans, you might be able to get temporary or permanent relief from making payments.

Learn about your options before you go into default. If you default on your student loans, you will suffer negative consequences like:

Your Options

If you're unable to make loan payments, some options include:

Deferring or Forbearing Your Student Loans

A deferment excuses you from making student loan payments for a set period of time because of a specific condition in your lifelike returning to school, economic hardship, cancer treatment, or unemployment. Interest will not accrue on subsidized loans during the deferment period.

In a forbearance, your loan holder gives you permission to stop making payments for a set period of time or temporarily reduces your payments. Interest always continues to accrue during a forbearance. In some circumstances, a forbearance might be available even if you've defaulted.

Canceling Student Loans

In certain limited circumstances, you might be able to cancel your student loanmeaning that you no longer have to pay it. Doing this is not easy; you'll have to meet specific conditions depending on the type of loan you have.

Often, when you cancel your loan, the government will also reimburse you for payments already made, and help clean up your credit record. In some situations, you won't be able to cancel the entire loan, but you might be able to get rid of a portion of it.

Loan cancellationalso called loan dischargeis available only in certain, specific situations, including:

  • you attended a school that closed
  • you didn't get a refund where appropriate
  • your school falsely certified that you would benefit from the education and you don't have a GED or high school diploma
  • you attended a Corinthian College
  • you work in certain occupations after graduation (like teaching or some public service jobs), and
  • you are disabled or die. (Learn more about student loan relief.)

Learn More

Go to the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website to get extensive information about cancellation, deferment, and forbearance for federal student loans.

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