The Saint Louis University Office of Student Financial Services is available to assist you with deferment, forbearance and other student loan issues. We encourage you to contact us via phone, email or office visit at any time; no appointment is necessary.
Remember that you are the best source of information about your student loans. You have access to all the necessary paperwork and services. We encourage you to take a proactive stance with your loans.
Loan Deferment and Forbearance
Many residents choose to take advantage of one of the income-driven repayment options offered by federal student loan programs. However, there may still be situations where postponing repayment is required. Deferment or forbearance are options to assist you in avoiding delinquency and default.
Deferment is the temporary postponement of your monthly student loan payment obligation. Interest will continue to accrue on your unsubsidized and Grad Plus loans but not on subsidized loans.
Forbearance is the temporary postponement or reduction of your monthly student loan payment obligation. During forbearance, interest accrues on the entire balance of your student loans, including your subsidized loans.
Contact your loan servicer to obtain the required documents to postpone your monthly payments. Often these forms are available on their website once you have logged into your account.
If you are unsure of who services your loans, visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at studentaid.ed.gov. Keep in mind that NSLDS will only show you the servicers on your federal student loans. If you have private loans, check your credit report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com to see the current service provider.
Types of deferment and forbearance available to eligible borrowers include:
- In-School Deferment: Borrowers must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program.
- Graduate Fellowship Deferment: Borrowers must be in a qualifying program; check with your program administrator. Typically medical residents do not qualify for this type of deferment.
- Unemployment Deferment: Borrowers must be actively seeking employment; contact your servicers to see if you are eligible.
- Mandatory Residency Forbearance: Available to medical residents during the advanced training years, Mandatory Residency Forbearance requires that your lender allows you to postpone payment of your loans during your additional years of training. While this alleviates your monthly payment obligation, interest still accrues on the entire balance of your student loans and will be capitalized at the end of each forbearance period.
Deferment and Forbearance Requests
Student Financial Services cannot process or certify deferment or forbearance requests for residents. Contact your residency program coordinator, direct supervisor or the staff of the Graduate Medical Education office for assistance.
Loan Forgiveness Programs
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides a searchable database of loan forgiveness programs offered by each state complete with eligibility details and contact information.
The Federal Health Programs for American Indians and Alaskan Natives sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers loan forgiveness to students willing to commit to providing primary care in an IHS facility or approved Indian health program.
In exchange for a service commitment, eligible borrowers are able to receive loan repayment from the U.S. military. Programs and forgiveness amounts and service times may vary by branch. For information on the specifics of each program, contact your nearest military recruiting office.
NHSC primary care health professions include:
- Physician (allopathic or osteopathic)
- Primary care nurse practitioner
- Primary care physician assistant
- Certified nurse-midwife
- Dental hygienist
- Mental or behavioral health professional
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and maintain their careers in public service. It offers forgiveness of an outstanding federal student loan balance to borrowers who have made ten years (120 monthly payments) of qualifying payments.
The following loan types are eligible for loan forgiveness:
- Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
- Federal Direct Grad Plus Loans
- Federal Direct Consolidation Loans
- Federal Direct Special Consolidation Loans
Borrowers with loans via the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program must consolidate their loans with the Federal Direct Loan Program to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Payments made before the consolidation do not count toward the 120 required payments.
The only resource for loan consolidation is through the Federal Direct Loan Consolidation program. However, you should be aware that consolidation is not the only way to access long-term repayment options. You can extend repayment for up to 25 years without consolidating. Consider all of your repayment options before consolidation.
There may be situations when consolidation is an appropriate solution to dealing with student loan debt. Those might include a desire to simplify your loan portfolio, take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, lock-in low variable interest rates or to avoid defaulting on loans.
Even if you have not previously borrowed through the Federal Direct Loan program, you may be eligible to consolidate your loans. You can access the consolidation application and promissory note at studentloans.gov. You will be required to provide your FSA PIN.
Remember that student loan repayment is a long-term relationship. You must be conscious of the decisions you make to ensure that the relationship is beneficial. If you have questions about loan consolidation, contact the Student Financial Services Office at 314-977-9840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delinquency and Default
Delinquency is defined as when loan payments are not received by their due dates. Default is defined as failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to in the promissory note. Failure to make payment for 270 consecutive days will result in a defaulted status. Making a late payment happens from time to time, however, it is important to not make a habit out of it.
Both delinquency and default are very serious and can result in:
- Being reported to the national credit bureaus; this may negatively affect your ability to obtain future credit
- The entire unpaid balance of your loans, including interest, becoming due and payable immediately
- Ineligibility to receive additional federal or state financial aid funds
- Revoking or lack of renewal of your professional license
- Wage garnishment
- Withholding of your federal and state income tax refunds and any lottery winnings
- Loss of deferment and forbearance possibilities
- Referral to a collection agency
- Collection costs and attorney fees
To avoid delinquency and default:
- Update your address and other contact information with your lender.
- Make your monthly payments on time. Put payment due dates in your calendar.
- Be aware of the end dates for your deferment or forbearances. Write the dates you need to reapply by on your calendar.
- Sign up for automatic debit, so payments are taken directly from your bank account.
- Choose a repayment option that works for you and create a repayment strategy.
- Create a budget, so you do not overspend.
If you are contacted by your servicer, and they say your loans are delinquent or in default, ask if you can apply for deferment or forbearance and what other options are available. You can also contact our office to see if we can assist you.
It is common to rely on credit based loans, such as the Federal Graduate Plus Loan or Private/Alternative loans, at some point to assist in funding a medical education. Lenders use credit history/credit scoring from one of three major credit bureaus. If your credit is deemed adverse or derogatory, lenders will not provide loans.
To ensure adequate funding for your education, we encourage you to obtain your credit report early so that you can make corrections to errors or adverse information before you apply for any credit-based loans.
You can obtain a free annual credit report at annualcreditreport.com. This central site allows you to request a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.