If you can't make payments on one or more of your student loans, you may 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. For example:
If you are unable to make loan payments, some options include:
postponing payments through deferment or forbearance programs (see below)
eliminating the loan altogether through loan cancellation (see below)
discharging the loan in bankruptcy (to learn more, see Student Loan Debt in Bankrutpcy) , or
A deferment excuses you from making student loan payments for a set period of time because of a specific condition in your life—like returning to school, economic hardship, 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 to temporarily reduce payments. Interest always continues to accrue during a forbearance. In some circumstances, a forbearance may be available even if you have defaulted.
In certain limited circumstances, you may be able to cancel your student loan—meaning 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 may be able to get rid of a portion of the loan.
Loan cancellation (also called loan discharge) is available only in certain, specific situations, including:
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.