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Should I Request Forbearance for my Student Loans?


what is student loan forbearance

If you’re struggling to pay your student loans and researching your options, you may be wondering what is student loan forbearance? It’s important to know how it works and the pros and cons to be sure you’re making the right choice.

How Does Forbearance Work?

Forbearance provides temporary relief from your monthly federal student loan payments, meaning that your payments may be reduced or stopped completely for a certain period of time. To request forbearance, you need to contact your loan servicer and explain why you need to pause your payments. Forbearance is much like deferment, with the main difference being that forbearance sometimes allows you the option to pay interest on your loans as it accrues.

Types of Forbearance

General forbearance: Also known as a discretionary forbearance, as it is granted at the discretion of the loan holder. General forbearances are available for direct loans, FFEL program loans and Perkins loans.

Mandatory forbearance: A mandatory forbearance is granted when you meet specific criteria. There are forbearance programs available for people in the following situations:

  • Medical or dental students in residency
  • National Guard members activated by a governor
  • Teachers performing a service specifically eligible for loan forgiveness
  • AmeriCorps workers
  • People whose monthly student loan payments are more than 20% of their total monthly gross income

Complete details can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.


  • If you are truly in a temporary financial crisis, such as illness or job loss, forbearance may provide you the space you need to get back on your feet.
  • If your account is close to default, forbearance could allow you to delay that outcome while you come up with a plan to keep wage garnishment at bay.


  • If you’re in a loan forgiveness program, postponing your payments may delay the time it takes to be granted loan forgiveness.
  • Interest may continue to accrue and will be capitalized. This means your unpaid interest will be added to your principal loan, so you’ll end up owing more money than before your forbearance.

Contact Philly Student Loan Lawyer

If you’d like to learn more about the different options for your loans, and you’re still wondering what is student loan forbearance, give our office a call at (215) 307-3939 to speak with one of our attorneys.


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