How to Write a Forbearance Letter for Student Loans

How to Write a Forbearance Letter for Student Loans
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The cost of a good education is beyond what most people can pay out of pocket on their own. Many students seek loans to cover the cost, along with scholarships and grants if available. However, financial stability is not entirely predictable, particularly for those who are just out of college and have little work experience and who may be hopping from job to job trying to find a good fit. When loan payments are beyond your financial reach, temporary forbearance may help. People usually request forbearance through lender forms or, alternately, via a request letter.

Write your full name, left justified. Put your contact information, including your email address, under your name. Double return and use the same format for the lender.

Skip two lines. Write "RE: Student loan forbearance request." Skip another two lines and write "DATE:" followed by the date. Skip two lines one more time and write your formal salutation. Follow the salutation with a colon and skip two lines before beginning your letter. Follow the double return rule between all subsequent paragraphs.

Indicate you are writing to request forbearance for your student loans. Indicate any identifying information that will help the lender look up your account, such as the loan number or the date the loan was issued.

Explain why you cannot afford to make your monthly loan payments in full. Provide details about your income, monthly expenditures and any other debts you currently owe. Refer the recipient to any enclosures you'll include with your letter that may validate your claims. Quote from the lender's policy on forbearance to strengthen your argument that you qualify.

Detail what you would like in terms of the forbearance. For example, tell the recipient what you could afford to pay and how long you need the loan to be in forbearance. Be specific about whether you can pay monthly interest -- if you opt not to pay, the interest will be due at the end of the forbearance period.

Invite the recipient to contact you with concerns or questions.

Write your formal closing, such as "Thanking you in advance," followed by a comma. Skip a minimum of four lines to leave room for your signature. Double return and, if there are any enclosures, write "Enclosures:", followed by the number of enclosures in parentheses.


  • Call the lender ahead of time and ask for the name of the person to whom you should address the letter. Do not use "To Whom It May Concern," as some lenders have specific individuals who deal with forbearance, deferment and similar requests. Using a specific name shows you are serious enough about the request to get this basic information.