Sallie Mae Deferment & Forbearance Options

by Sue-Lynn Carty ; Updated July 27, 2017

If you have a private loan offered by Sallie Mae or if the company services your federal student loans, you have deferment and forbearance options if you are unable to make your loan payments. A deferment and forbearance on Sallie Mae loans are not permanent solutions. They only serve to offer you temporary relief from your payments when you are experiencing a financial setback or hardship.

Deferments

You can postpone your student loan payments by requesting a deferment from Sallie Mae. The lengths of deferments are assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on your specific situation. After the deferment period ends, you can reapply for a new deferment if you qualify. If you do not qualify for a new deferment, you must begin making your student loan payments. When you request a deferment, you will have to provide the reason why you are asking to postpone your payment. Acceptable reasons include re-enrolling in school, economic hardship, military deployment and unemployment.

Forbearance

With a forbearance, Sallie Mae suspends or reduces your loan payment for up to one year at a time. If you have federal student loans, the total length of time your loan can be in forbearance is three years. The length of your forbearance depends on your financial situation. For example, Sallie Mae may approve a forbearance for six months, after which time you have to begin making your loan payments. If at that time, you cannot afford to make your loan payments, you will have to reapply for a new forbearance. Should you need to reapply, Sallie Mae will request new financial information from you.

Interest Capitalization

Your unsubsidized federal student loans and private student loans still accrue interest while you are in a deferment or forbearance. During the time in which your payments are postponed, you have the option of making your interest payment only. If you choose to not make your interest payments, the interest that accrues during your forbearance or deferment is added on to the principal balance of your loan. Subsidized federal student loans do not accrue interest when in deferment, but do accrue interest while they are in forbearance.

Considerations

After you request a forbearance or deferment and submit your application, it can take some time before your request is approved or denied. During this time, you must continue to make your student loan payments. If you cannot make your student loan payments, you need to contact Sallie Mae and explain your financial situation. Depending on your situation, Sallie Mae may make your deferment or forbearance retroactive to cover the payment you will be missing in the current month, unless you have fallen behind on payments.

About the Author

Sue-Lynn Carty has over five years experience as both a freelance writer and editor, and her work has appeared on the websites Work.com and LoveToKnow. Carty holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration, with an emphasis on financial management, from Davenport University.