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Federal Perkins Loan Program - Deferments

The Federal Perkins Loan program provides for deferment of payments under certain circumstances. During deferment, the borrower is not required to pay loan principal and interest does not accrue. After each deferment, the borrower is entitled to a post-deferment grace period of six consecutive months.

Deferment Explanations:

Student Deferment

A borrower, at an institution of higher education or a comparable institution outside the United States approved for this purpose by the Department of ED, may defer repayment if he or she is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible institution as a "regular student" for the purpose of obtaining a degree or certificate.

Economic Hardship Deferment

Western Illinois University may grant a deferment due to economic hardship for periods up to one year, for a maximum of three years. To qualify, documentation must be provided to the institution showing the borrower:

  • has been granted an economic hardship deferment under either the FDSL or FFEL programs for the period of time the borrower is requesting economic hardship for his or her Federal Perkins Loan
  • is receiving payment under a federal or state public assistance program
  • is working full-time and earning a total monthly gross income that does not exceed the greater of the monthly earnings of an individual earning the minimum wage described in the Fair Labor Act of 1938 or an amount equal to 150 percent of the poverty line for the family size as determined in accordance with section 673(2) of the Community Service Block Grant Act.
  • is serving as a volunteer in the Peace Corps.

Unemployment Deferment

A borrower is eligible to defer payments on principal, and interest does not accrue for any period not to exceed three years when the borrower is seeking and unable to find full-time employment.

Internship/Residency Deferments (Oct 1, 1980-July 1, 1993)

A borrower who is serving in a medical internship or residency program is not considered to be in school for deferment purposes and may not receive an in-school deferment on that Perkins Loan for the internship or residency program; however, the borrower is eligible for an internship deferment for up to two years.

To obtain this kind of deferment, a borrower must provide the institution with specific evidence.

To qualify for a deferment in an internship required for state licensing, the borrower must provide the institution with the following certifications:

  • A statement from an official of the appropriate state licensing agency that successful completion of the internship program is a prerequisite for its certification of the individual for professional service or practice.
  • A statement from the organization offering the internship program certifying that a person must have a bachelor's degree to be admitted into the internship program and the borrower has been accepted into its internship program.
  • the anticipated dates on which the borrower will begin and complete the program.

Deferment Exclusive to Perkins Loans made before July 1, 1993, and NDSL's made between Oct 1, 1980 and July 1, 1993

A borrower may defer repayment up to three years and interest will not accrue while he or she is:

  • a member of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard;
  • a member of the National Guard or the Reserves serving a period of full-time active duty in the armed forces;
  • an officer in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service;
  • on full-time active duty as a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps (for Perkins Loans made before July 1, 1993, only);
  • A Peace Corps or ACTION (under Title I, Part 1, of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973) volunteer OR comparable service;
  • a volunteer under Title I, Part A, of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (ACTION programs);
  • temporarily totally disabled or unable to work because he or she must care for a spouse or other dependent who is also disabled;
  • a working mother (up to 12 months deferment) (for Perkins Loans made before July 1, 1993, only); and
  • a new parent (up to 6 months deferment)(for Perkins Loans made before July 1, 1993, only).

Graduate Fellowship

A borrower may defer repayment if he or she is enrolled and in attendance as a regular student in a course of study that is part of a graduate fellowship program approved by the Department, including graduate or postgraduate fellowship-supported study (such as a Fulbright grant) outside the United States.

Rehabilitation Training

A borrower may defer repayment if he or she is enrolled in a course of study that is part of a Department-approved rehabilitation training program for disabled individuals.

Concurrent Deferment

Schools must automatically defer loans during periods when the borrower is performing service that will qualify him or her for loan cancellation. Schools may grant concurrent deferment for up to 12 months at a time. Concurrent deferment is available to all loans made under the Federal Perkins Loan Program, regardless of disbursement date and contrary provisions on the promissory note.


A borrower who is serving on active duty or performing National Guard duty during a war, military operation, or national emergency and up to 180 days following completion of such service may defer principal and interest on Perkins, NDSLs, and Defense Loans.  Active duty is defined by Federal Regulations as full-time duty in the active military service of the United States as defined in 10 U.S.C. 101(d)(1), but does not include training or attendance at a service school.

In addition, a borrower may defer repayment of these loans after active duty military service and any applicable grace period until the date they resume at least half-time enrollment or 13 months following the completion of active duty service, whichever comes first.  The borrower must meet all eligibility requirements and terms/conditions.

Temporary and Permanent Disability

As of July 1, 2013, a borrower that is totally and permanently disabled and wants to apply for discharge must now apply through the Department of Education's Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge Website. The Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge Website can be found at and now reflects the new TPD discharge regulations and explains the TPD discharge procedures, eligibility criteria, post-discharge monitoring period, and conditions that may result in the reinstatement of a discharged loan or TEACH Grant service obligation. In addition, borrowers can access the TPD discharge application via the site. To access the updated TPD discharge application, click on the Forms link located in the Resources area of the site's pages.

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