Smiling Female Student Holding Books

If you’re having trouble making payments on your student loan debt, then you should be looking at the many deferment programs available in 2016.

One of the easiest to qualify for is the in-school deferment program, which allows anyone with federal student loan debt to pause repayment as long as they’re attending school at least half time.

Keep in mind, though, that you can only qualify for an in school deferment (or any other deferment program for that matter) if your loans are not in default, so make sure to apply before you miss a payment.

How to Qualify for an In School Deferment

This is the easiest deferment program to get accepted into, since the requirements are so simple – all you have to do is be enrolled at an “eligible institution” at least half-time, and you’re guaranteed to get approval.

What’s an “eligible institution”? A school, university or other educational organization that’s been accredited by one of the Department of Education’s recognized accreditation agencies.

For a list of schools that qualify as “eligible institutions”, you can access the Department of Education’s official database online, here.

If your school is on that list, and you’re enrolled in classes at least half time, then your student loan will qualify for an in-school deferment.

How Long Can I Postpone Paying My Loans?

One of the best parts about getting an in school deferment is that it lasts as long as you meet the eligibility guidelines.

So – unlike the unemployment deferment, which is doled out in 6 months increments, your in school deferment will remain active as long as you continue to attend school at least half time.

That’s great for those students in long Masters programs, PhD programs, medical school, dental school, or other educational programs that prevent you from earning a full-time salary.

Oh, and don’t worry about Summer vacation or other breaks, because eligibility guidelines stipulate that your in school deferment can span periods shorter than six months between academic terms.

Does Interest Continue to Accumulate?

There’s good news and bad news on the interest front:

The good news is that if you’ve got a Direct Subsidized Loan, you won’t be charged any interest while your loan is in deferment.

The bad news is that if you have a Direct or FEEL Unsubsidized loan, or a PLUS loan, you will continue to be charged interest even while your loan is in deferment.

Here’s the problem – if you’re getting charged interest during an in school deferment, but you aren’t making interest payments on your loan, that additional interest will be recapitalized after your deferment period ends, adding to the pincipal balance of your loan, and making it more expensive in the long-run.

So, if your your is subsidized, don’t worry about making interest payments, but if it isn’t, then you’d better be prepared to continue paying off interest, or you’ll end up with a much more student loan debt than you originally anticipated.

How Do I Apply for an In-School Deferment?

It’s pretty easy to apply for this program.

All you’ve got to do is download the in school student loan deferment form, fill it out, and submit it to whoever services your loan (whoever you make payments to).

To find the form, please visit the MyFedLoan website’s deferment forms page, here.

You’ll need to make an account for the site, but then you can download the 2016 version of the In-School Deferment form, fill it out, and submit it to your loan servicer.

Keep in mind that you can’t stop making your student loan payments until you’ve been notified that the deferment is in effect, and that it could take a week or two for that to happen.

For More Information

If you’ve got any additional questions, please feel free to ask away in the comments section below.

Or, check out the official Government student loans website at


Tim's experience battling crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt, where he offers advice on dealing with excessive student loans and advocates a cautious approach to funding education costs via borrowed money.