Understanding Student Loan Forbearance

Turning the Page on Student Loans: Understanding Student Loan Forbearance

– Student loan forbearance defined and how it works
– Different types of student loan forbearance: General Forbearance, Mandatory Forbearance, and Private Student Loan Forbearance
– Pros and cons of student loan forbearance
– The application process for student loan forbearance
– Alternatives to student loan forbearance

Hey Student Loan Bearers, Let’s Talk Forbearance!

If the weight of your federal student loans feels like a heavy backpack that you can’t seem to put down, you might want to do some exploring on the map of financial relief. Allow me to introduce you to forbearance, a financial pitstop that might help you redraw your journey towards financial health.

Student Loan Forbearance: Your Financial Sherpa

Student loan forbearance is like an understanding teacher who gives you an extension on your homework deadline. It allows you to hit pause or reduce your monthly payments for a while (from one to 12 months), offering a lifeline when you’re juggling a financial curveball. Do keep in mind that forbearance and deferment are like apples and oranges. While both fruits, they’re not completely identical, but more on that later. Let’s dive deeper into the types of forbearance that could potentially back your play.

The Characters in the Forbearance Story

Depending on the nature of your student loans and your unique set of circumstances, the begs and bounties of forbearance can differ. Here’s a peek at your possible options.

The ‘One Size Fits Many’ Forbearance aka General Forbearance

Picture general forbearance as a benevolent genie who grants you financial wishes, courtesy of your federal student loan servicer. If you’ve cast your lot with direct loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loans, or Perkins loans, you can tug on the general forbearance rope if you’re grappling with:

– Tough financial times
– Medical bills that appear to multiply
– Employment changes
– Whatever else your loan servicer deems fitting

If you make the cut, you can catch your breath or dial down your payments for up to 12 months. If the end of the rainbow still seems far away when your initial forbearance period ends, you can toss your coin for another chance. Just remember, you have a three-year cap of cumulative forbearance.

The ‘As-You-Wish’ Forbearance aka Mandatory Forbearance

Picture mandatory forbearance as your fairy godmother wielding a financial wand. Your student loan servicer must grant your wish for a payment pause or reduction, albeit without the magic dust. To qualify for this blessing, you must have direct loans or FFEL loans and meet specific criteria such as participating in the AmeriCorps, the Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program, a medical or dental internship, having a student loan debt burden, etc.

The ‘Maybe, Maybe Not’ Forbearance aka Private Student Loan Forbearance

When it comes to private student loan companies, forbearance becomes akin to a trick or treat game. Some might offer forbearance while others might not. As a rule of thumb, dial up your lender to gain insights into your possibilities. Although, don’t keep your hopes high for them rivaling the federal government’s largesse.

The Yays and Nays of Student Loan Forbearance

Forbearance might seem like a knight in shining armor, but let’s not overlook the potential dragon that might follow. Here are the gains and goblins to keep in mind:


– Budget relief is akin to a sigh of relief, especially if you’re unemployed or dealing with heavy medical bills.
– Being in good graces of your student loan payments can save your credit score from plummeting into the abyss.
– Your loans being in forbearance doesn’t tarnish your credit report with missed payments.


– Just like a stopped clock that keeps ticking, interest on your loans will soldier on regardless of your forbearance plans.
– Forbearance isn’t a financial Hogwarts. It doesn’t offer permanent relief and can only push your troubles down the line.
– Unless you qualify for mandatory forbearance, there’s no guarantee of attaining relief.

Applying for Student Loan Forbearance: The How-to

The road to applying for student loan forbearance deviates for federal and private loan borrowers. With federal loans, you follow a straightforward path, identifying the type of forbearance you’re eligible for, filling out the respective form, gathering relevant documentation, and submitting your request to your loan servicer.

Paths Diverged from Student Loan Forbearance

While forbearance might appear like a wormhole out of your financial quagmire, it’s wise to analyze all escape routes before you take the leap. Consider alternatives such as income-driven repayment plans, deferment, loan consolidation, and refinancing.

The Last Chapter…

Experiencing difficulties while repaying student loans is like a plot twist not many of us are thrilled about. Luckily, forbearance provides a character arc, particularly if you are a holder of federal student loans. But remember, it’s important to read the whole story, including the potential plot holes it might introduce to your financial narrative.

Research your options; make sure you choose the best path moving forward. And as you begin your forbearance journey, keep a keen eye on your credit to make sure your kid (student loan payments) is behaving correctly back home.

My Parting Note

Navigating the maze of student loans can seem daunting, but knowledge is our power, and understanding complex terms like forbearance is our sword. Let this serve as a beacon of clarity and encouragement on your journey to financial freedom. After all, every great exploration begins with one small step, or in our case, one monthly loan payment at a time!

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Original Article:https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-is-student-loan-forbearance/