Graduate Loan Deferment | 10.26.09

Graduate DefermentThe day you can hoist your graduate degree overhead will be a proud day no doubt, but then the reality sets in.  How much did I borrow for this piece of paper exactly?

The truth is most students have no idea how much they borrowed.    Grants, federal loans, private loans, work-study, and scholarships fall under one giant umbrella to most.  Their philosophy is simple, why worry about it today when I can worry about it tomorrow?

Well, when tomorrow comes knocking it will serve you well to have a game plan.  Today we shall focus on federal loan deferment. Keep in mind that deferment is not a means to an end, but rather, a way to stay afloat if you are having trouble making your monthly loan payment.

There are two common deferment types that are utilized.  The first one is the Economic hardship deferment.  In order to qualify for this deferment type you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • You are receiving payment under a federal or state public assistance program, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, or state general public assistance.
  • You are serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  • You are working full-time and your total monthly gross income from employment must be less than or equal to the larger of (A) the monthly minimum wage rate or (B) 150% of the Poverty Guideline amount for your family size and state.

The second deferment type is loan forbearance which anyone can basically receive.   The big distinction between the two deferment types is that while in forbearance interest accrues on the principal and any capitalized interest. Your debt will continually increase while in deferment making your repayment period longer.  When you are in an economic hardship deferment no interest accrues on your subsidized loan portion.

You have 36 months of federal loan deferment entitlement regardless of which deferment you take advantage of and must reapply every 12 months if you wish to continue in your deferment state.


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