What is a forbearance? A forbearance is something you can put your student loans into so that you temporarily don’t have to make payments. You can apply for a forbearance for up to 12 months at a time. It may sound pretty good to put off payments for a whole year, but your loans will continue to accrue interest.

If you’re a student loan borrower, there is a lot of information out there that can be overwhelming and it can be hard to keep all the information straight. Maybe you’ve heard some terms but don’t remember what it is or how it applies to you. Chances are if you have student loans you’ve heard of a forbearance. Some student loan borrowers will end up in a forbearance but might not fully comprehend what one is.

What is a forbearance? A forbearance is something you can put your student loans into so that you temporarily don’t have to make payments. You can apply for a forbearance for up to 12 months at a time. It may sound pretty good to put off payments for a whole year, but your loans will continue to accrue interest.

There are two types of forbearance, discretionary and mandatory. A discretionary forbearance can be applied for if you’re experiencing financial hardship or an illness. Your lender will decide whether or not to grant you forbearance. A mandatory forbearance is harder to apply for. You have to meet certain criteria to become eligible. You can apply for mandatory forbearance under the following instances:

  • You’re serving a medical or dental internship or residency program and meet the specific requirements.
  • The total amount you owe each month for all the student loans you have borrowed is 20% or more of your total monthly gross income.
  • You are serving in a national service position for which you received a national service award.
  • You are a member of the National Guard and have been activated by a governor, but you are not eligible for a military deferment.
  • You are performing teaching service that would qualify for teacher loan forgiveness.
  • You qualify for partial repayment of your loans under the U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program.

Applying for a forbearance has been made very easy across many servicers. Most of them have the ability to apply for the forbearance online through their website. While your loan is in forbearance you can pay the interest that those loans accumulate. If you choose not to pay that interest it will get added to your principal balance. If you’re looking for another option to temporarily stopping payments you can look into different types of deferment.