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Student Loan Deferment - 5 Criteria to Determine Your Eligibility

Aug 17, 2007
A college student loan has given many people all over the United States a chance to further their education, even if they are not making a lot of money. Education student loans can be a big help in paying for college, but what do you do if you find yourself in a position where you can't make the payments either because of a disability or because of economic hardship? A student loan deferment is basically a privilege that allows you some flexibility to repaying your student loans given your circumstances. To apply for deferment based on your economic situation, you must apply every year and prove why you deserve to have your repayment stalled. Here are some eligibility criteria for a student loan deferment:

1. Pregnant or Caring For a Newborn
Tending to a newborn or pregnancy has its own set of challenges. If you are not working, no longer in school, and have attended school within the last 6 months for at least halt-time, you may qualify for the parental leave student loan deferment. You will be asked to provide proof in the form of documentation regarding your current situation. Documents from your doctor documenting the pregnancy or a copy of the birth certificate should be adequate. If you are caring for an adoptive child, you'll need to get a statement from the adoption agency referencing the adopted child's placement. Certification from your school concerning your enrollment status over the previous 6 months may also be required. The deferment has a maximum time limit of 6 months after which you would need to reassess your situation to determine if you are able to start repaying your student loans again or if you require another parent leave loan deferment.

2. Economic Hardship - In this case, your financial situation does not make it possible to repay the student loans at this time. The way this works is in you need to have income below the low standard of living as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. Keep in mind you may need to provide proof in this situation, similar to the parental loan deferment.

3. In-school Deferment - As long as you are enrolled at least half-time (as defined by the school, normally six units for undergraduates and 4 units for graduate students), no interest accrues and no payments are required until after a six-month grace period after you ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.

4. Disability - In the unfortunate case that you may become disabled and unable to work for more than 60 days, or you need to care for a disabled spouse or dependent for more than 90 days, then you may be eligible for deferment.

5. Unemployment - You'll need to be working less than 30 hours per week and you must prove your case in order to qualify for a deferment. It's wise to keep records of the jobs your seeking out and documentation from any unemployment benefits from your area. In most cases, an unemployment check will be done to confirm your status.

The laws have changed for people with student loans depending whether the loans where taken out before or after June 1, 1993. Usually, those who borrowed their first Stafford Loans after July 1, 1993, are eligible to defer payments if they are enrolled in at least half-time at an eligible school, unemployed, in a graduate fellowship program, in a rehabilitation training program for people with disabilities, or suffering economic hardship. Seek advice from professors, student aid counselors, and the dean or your university.
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