Over 44 million Americans are burdened with student loan debt. So, if you find yourself struggling with your student loans, you are certainly not alone. Coping with debt can be financially taxing, and mentally and emotionally draining.
If you are struggling to secure employment months after leaving college, and you’re dealing with overwhelming debt at the same time, consider deferring your student loans. Learn about the pros and cons of student loan deferment.
What is student loan deferment?
Paying off your debts on time is always the best option. However, if you find yourself in a rough patch, you might find managing student loans difficult. If you’re facing a serious financial crisis, student loan deferment might be your best option for relief.
Let’s start by looking at the pros of a student loan deferment. Here are some of the benefits of student loan deferment:
- Get a much-needed break from debt payments and an opportunity to regain your financial footing
- Avoid loan default when paying off your student loan becomes impossible
- Deferment won't negatively impact your credit
There are also a number of cons associated with student loan deferment. Here are a few disadvantages to keep in mind:
- Deferment can only be used for a set amount of time. Your payment suspension will last between three months to 12 months. This means you’ll need to get back on your feet, and find ways to start repaying your student loans immediately once the suspension is over
- Deferring student loans can disqualify you from getting approved for student loan forgiveness programs
- If your loan is unsubsidized, there’s a good chance the interest on your loan will increase the amount you owe during the period of deferment. This translates into a significant increase on the balance of your student loan as a whole
- Private loans may require certain fees for loan deferment. Furthermore, you may not have an option for deferment if you have a private loan
Alternatives to Student Loan Deferment
In some cases, student loan deferment may not be right for you. Instead, consider these options:
- Reach out to your creditors, and negotiate a repayment plan. You can apply for an income-based repayment plan to work out your debt payment based on monthly earnings
- See if you’re eligible for student loan refinancing so you can secure lower interest rates and reduced monthly payments
- Check if you qualify for loan forgiveness. Some programs grant student loan forgiveness for those who have served in public sectors, such as public school teachers, nurses and government employees
Applying for a loan deferment can make sense in cases where you are undergoing a temporary setback or financial crisis, and paying off your student loan becomes a challenging obligation. Prior to making the decision to defer, assess your situation carefully. See if you can find other options that may be more beneficial to you.