In today’s world where student loans are the norm, especially for international students, it is increasingly important to be aware of how you can defer your payments while still in school.
This article will take a look at what exactly student loan deferment is, how it works and how to request to defer your student loan payments. It will also discuss some resources for more information on this topic, including how deferment applies to federal student loans and private student loans.
What is deferment?
Let’s get started with the most important thing to cover – what does deferment mean? In general terms, deferment is when you are allowed to put off paying your loan for a time under certain conditions.
On the surface this seems like a great idea because you are allowed to stop making your monthly loan payments for a time – up to three years in some cases. However, deferring student loans should only be done if you have no other options because during the deferment period you are not reducing your loan balance but your loans accrue interest. This means the total amount you owe, and the total cost of borrowing will increase.
If you’ve borrowed from a private lender then your student loan debt will only increase if you stop making monthly payments. However, federal student loan deferment if you have subsidized loans or Perkins loans can be a good idea because you do not accrue additional interest on federal student aid during deferment.
In the case of international student loans, students who are enrolled at least half time may be offered a repayment plan by their loan servicer that includes a period when no monthly payment is required or the payment is significantly reduced. Often this is during full time studies and until up to six months after graduation.
Deferment, Forbearance and Loan Forgiveness
You have probably heard all three of these terms and you’d be forgiven for being slightly confused about the similarities and differences.
Deferment and Forbearance
Student Loan Deferment and Loan Forgiveness are very similar. Both are temporary solutions for borrowers struggling with student loan repayment. Deferment can be granted for up to three years and forbearance usually up to 12 months.
Both are available on most federal student loans, and interest is accrued during deferment with the exception of subsidized loans or the Perkins loan. Private lenders are not obliged to offer any kind of deferment or forbearance options, but many do – especially in the form of a payment plan where student loan payments are zero or greatly reduced (sometimes interest-only) during school and for up to 6 months after graduation.
Making use of approved deferment or loan forgiveness will not negatively affect your credit score – missing a payment before you have been approved will. However it will impact the length of time and the total amount you repay.
These options are short-term solutions, an income driven repayment plan may be a better option if you believe that your ability to repay your loan will be affected long-term.
As suggested by the name, this is when the lender writes off or cancels some or all of the outstanding payments remaining. This is only used in extremely rare occasions such as foreclosure, bankruptcy or some kind of government legislation.
How in school deferment works
To defer student loans, you need to meet the requirements set out by the lender (or the government). For example, you might have a maximum of 3 years where you can defer your loan.
To request deferment, you need to send your student loan servicer the completed application form and any necessary supporting documentation. If you qualify, they must grant you the deferment. It’s important that you keep making payments until you receive the official notification from them saying that the application was approved. If you stop making the required repayments before you get the approval, this can affect your credit in the future as it will be a missed payment.
How long does an in-school deferment last?
In-school deferment lets you pause your student loan payments while you are an undergraduate, graduate or professional student enrolled half time or more on an approved course of study at an eligible college and for up to six months after graduation. This includes studies on an approved graduate fellowship program.
How to defer student loans for grad school
The process of student loan deferment is the same for graduate programs as for any other students that qualify.
How many credits to defer student loans?
In order to qualify for student loan deferment you will need to be taking enough credits to be considered as attending school half time or more. In most cases an undergraduate is considered to be full time when taking 12 credits per semester – 9 for a graduate student.
References and resources about student loans and financial aid
For resources on International Student Loans visit the resources page.
If you are looking for an international student loan in the US you can find information here.
If you are studying in Canada loans are available for international students.
Find your international scholarship with the IEFA international scholarship search.
There are many reasons why study abroad is not for everyone. You need to be aware of the costs, benefits of studying at home or abroad, and the pros and cons of taking out student loans for study abroad before you can make a decision on whether or not it will work best for you.
Study Abroad Costs
Remember that the cost of studying abroad is not just tuition, but also many other expenses such as accommodation and living expenses. A study abroad program is not cheap.
To make the most of your money, it’s important to budget accordingly. Consider everything you need to live like at home: food, clothing, transportation, books and school supplies, entertainment, insurance (health and travel), and incidentals (phone service, toiletries).
When you do this math ahead of time with realistic figures for your destination country, it’s easier to know what you can afford and if you’ll be able to go.
For help with budgeting and other practical questions see our budgeting guide [here].
What you might gain from studying abroad (or not)
Studying abroad is a great opportunity for a student to broaden their horizons and experience new cultures, countries, and lifestyles. It is an experience that will give them new perspectives on life that will have a great impact on them for years to come. Studying abroad will help their resume as they often learn different languages and customs.
But if you choose to study in your home country instead, you’ll benefit from having your parents or other family members available to help you when you need it. Your family will be in the same time zone, and much closer should an emergency arise. You won’t have to deal with language barriers either; instead, everyone speaks your language!
But maybe even more important than all of these is that studying abroad isn’t for everyone.
Don’t be pressured by parents, friends, or family members to do it if you’re unsure about doing so. It takes time to adjust when studying abroad in a different country, so before you commit to something that will change your life forever, consider your options carefully.
Taking out a Student Loan for Study Abroad
It’s rare for students or their families to be able to cover the full cost of a study abroad program without additional financial aid.
Many students get study abroad scholarships or are able to work to help pay for costs, but sometimes they need to take out a student loan. If you’re considering this option -and it is an option- be aware of the pros and cons of getting a student loan for studying abroad.
Student loans for study abroad are different from student loans for studying in your home country.
For U.S. citizens or permanent residents, federal student loans can be used for study abroad programs as long as you meet all the criteria. There are also private study abroad loans. If you choose to study your entire degree program abroad then you may still be eligible for federal funding or private “foreign enrolled loans”.
For other international students the availability of loans to study abroad depends upon your nationality and your destination country. U.S. federal loans are not available for international students in studying in the United States, but there are some federal student aid programs that can help certain groups like DACA recipients. Non-citizens would need a private international student loan.
Understand the pros and cons of taking out student loans for study abroad before making a decision
A student loan is a type of loan that enables you to pay the costs of your education. It can also cover for the cost of living, books, and even tuition fees. The great thing about a student loan is that it is quite manageable, as the monthly repayment is calculated to be manageable for a student or recent graduate.
As there are a limited number of lenders that specialize in international student loans, you’ll be working with a company that has the expertise you need in this area rather than a generic lender. This means you can expect a higher level of service at every stage of the application process.
On the other hand, the bad side is that student loans are not as common as other types of lending, and therefore there is less information about them.
Of course, the main downside of a loan is that you have to repay it plus interest, and since you’re probably going to be a student or fresh graduate with little income, the repayment may seem difficult at first. Student loan debt is no joke if you let it get out of hand and borrow more than you need (and more than you can afford to repay).
Student loans for study abroad can also be quite tricky because you have to take into consideration things such as the currency exchange rates and the different cost of living abroad.
At internationalstudentloan.com we match our readers with the best student loan lenders based on their situation. If you want to use educational loans for your studies, we hope this will help you select the right lender and loan for you.
Research schools abroad and in your home country to make sure you make the best decision for you
Before you can really decide if studying abroad is the best option for you, you should research your options both at home and overseas to find the right combination of school or university plus course plus location.
You may find that some schools abroad are better suited to your needs than similar schools in your home country, and if this is the case then studying abroad is probably a good option for you.
Or you may find that there are similar options in your home country and studying abroad doesn’t suit your needs.
When you’re looking to study abroad, learn as much as you can about the school you want to attend; don’t choose a course purely because it’s cheaper than similar courses at other universities and colleges.
It’s easy to take your safety for granted when you are near home, but when you’re abroad there are additional considerations such as crime and health risks, which can affect your study abroad experience. When picking a campus and housing location, keep this in mind. Ideally your campus should be located in an area where you feel safe, as should your living arrangements.
Another consideration is language issues. For example, if you are from a non-English speaking background and want to study in the United States, you’ll need to demonstrate good English language proficiency when applying for or enrolling at an American college or university. You may be able to take some English language proficiency courses before starting your degree course, but this will depend on the college or university you choose and how intensive it is.
The cost of living in different countries is very different, so don’t assume that the tuition fee for a college or university abroad is similar to what you would pay at home. For example, English universities charge international students up to three times more than domestic students, and in some countries international students can pay up to ten times more than locals.
At internationalstudentloan.com, we are dedicated to helping students get the best student loans possible for their education abroad. We’ll help you find the right lender and loan combination that suits your needs so you can focus on what’s really important: studying!
As a new graduate with little income, it may seem difficult to repay your student loans at first but our partner lenders have experience working with international students who want to study abroad. You can rest assured knowing that after signing up for an educational loan from one of our approved lenders, you will be matched with someone who understands how your brain works when making decisions about your student finances.