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Forbearance lets you temporarily postpone your loan payments. It can help you avoid delinquency and default if you're facing temporary financial difficulty. Before considering forbearance, explore all other options, like asking your cosigner if they can help you make student loan payments for a short time. See if there’s anyone else who might be able to help you.

How forbearance works

As soon as you realize you won’t be able to make your monthly payment, call us and explain your situation. We can help you determine if forbearance is the best option for you. There’s no form to submit; our customer service team can help you set it up. Forbearance can be authorized up to three months at a time, up to 12 months over the life of the loan.


  • Forbearance may give you the extra time you need to solve your financial difficulties.


  • A payment may be required to obtain a forbearance. The payment will be applied towards your Current Balance.
  • Some items will not be affected. Forbearance does not remove any late fees or previously reported delinquency information from your credit report.
  • Interest continues to accrue. While you’re in forbearance, you won’t have to make payments. However, interest will continue to accrue. At the end of your forbearance period, the interest will capitalize (be added to your loan’s Current Principal), so your Total Loan Cost will increase.
  • Forbearance may affect your eligibility for, or cause you to lose, borrower benefits or repayment incentives (such as cosigner release) that require on-time payments to obtain the benefit or retain it after qualifying.
  • Any scheduled loan disbursements during a forbearance period will be suspended.

Paying interest can help

To reduce your Total Loan Cost, we encourage you to pay the interest that accrues while the loan is in forbearance.

Delinquency and default

Delinquency is when you fail to pay all or part of your monthly student loan payment. You may be charged late fees for delinquency, which can add to your Total Loan Cost. Plus, you can lose any interest-rate reduction programs for which you were eligible. Delinquency can also affect your credit rating. Late payments may be reported to consumer reporting agencies and can have a negative impact on your credit report.

Default is the most serious situation. It means you’ve failed to repay your student loan, and can have serious consequences. Once your student loan is in default, the entire Current Balance becomes due, not just the missed monthly payments. In addition, your default may be reported to the consumer reporting agencies, where it can stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

Before your student loan becomes delinquent and goes into default, call us at 800-472-5543 (800-4-SALLIE). We can work together for a solution.

Abby explains student loan delinquency and default

If you’re considering bankruptcy

It’s important to understand many student loans are not discharged through bankruptcy. However, an automatic stay is imposed when any bankruptcy is filed. The effect of the automatic stay and what we do depends on which type of bankruptcy is filed.

  • If a Chapter 12 or 13 bankruptcy is filed, we suspend online access and communications, including billing statements, for both the borrower and the cosigner.
  • If only one of a borrower or cosigner files a Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy, we suspend online access and communications for only the person who filed the bankruptcy.

In all cases, interest continues to accrue during the bankruptcy case, which is likely to increase the Total Loan Cost. After the automatic stay ends, servicing, collection efforts, online access and all communications will resume if the student loan is not discharged. In cases where a loan is discharged, we remove the filing party from responsibility for the loan. The non-filing party remains responsible for the loan, no matter which type of bankruptcy is filed. If you have questions about the treatment of your student loan in bankruptcy, please consult with an attorney.

If you’re experiencing financial difficulty, please call us at 800-472-5543 (800-4-SALLIE), so we can discuss any options that may be available for your loan.