34 CFR § 685.205 - Forbearance.

§ 685.205 Forbearance.

(a) General. “Forbearance” means permitting the temporary cessation of payments, allowing an extension of time for making payments, or temporarily accepting smaller payments than previously scheduled. The borrower has the option to choose the form of forbearance. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(9) of this section, if payments of interest are forborne, they are capitalized. The Secretary grants forbearance if the borrower or endorser intends to repay the loan but requests forbearance and provides sufficient documentation to support this request, and—

(1) The Secretary determines that, due to poor health or other acceptable reasons, the borrower or endorser is currently unable to make scheduled payments;

(2) The borrower's payments of principal are deferred under § 685.204 and the Secretary does not subsidize the interest benefits on behalf of the borrower;

(3) The borrower is in a medical or dental internship or residency that must be successfully completed before the borrower may begin professional practice or service, or the borrower is serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program leading to a degree or certificate awarded by an institution of higher education, a hospital, or a health care facility that offers postgraduate training;

(4) The borrower is serving in a national service position for which the borrower is receiving a national service education award under title I of the National and Community Service Act of 1990;


(i) The borrower is performing the type of service that would qualify the borrower for loan forgiveness under the requirements of the teacher loan forgiveness program in § 685.217.

(ii) Before a forbearance is granted under § 685.205(a)(5)(i), the borrower must—

(A) Submit documentation for the period of the annual forbearance request showing the beginning and ending dates that the borrower is expected to perform, for that year, the type of service described in § 685.217(c); and

(B) Certify the borrower's intent to satisfy the requirements of § 685.217(c).

(iii) The Secretary grants forbearance under paragraph (a)(5) of this section only if the Secretary believes, at the time of the borrower's annual request, that the expected forgiveness amount under § 685.217(d) will satisfy the anticipated remaining outstanding balance on the borrower's loan at the time of the expected forgiveness;

(6) For not more than three years during which the borrower or endorser—

(i) Is currently obligated to make payments on loans under title IV of the Act; and

(ii) The sum of these payments each month (or a proportional share if the payments are due less frequently than monthly) is equal to or greater than 20 percent of the borrower's or endorser's total monthly gross income.

(7) The borrower is a member of the National Guard who qualifies for a post-active duty student deferment, but does not qualify for a military service or other deferment, and is engaged in active State duty for a period of more than 30 consecutive days, beginning—

(i) On the day after the grace period expires for a Direct Subsidized Loan or Direct Unsubsidized Loan that has not entered repayment; or

(ii) On the day after the borrower ceases enrollment on at least a half-time basis, for a Direct Loan in repayment.


(i) The Secretary may grant a forbearance to permit a borrower or endorser to resume honoring the agreement to repay the debt after default. The terms of the forbearance agreement in this situation must include a new agreement to repay the debt signed by the borrower or endorser or a written or oral affirmation of the borrower's or endorser's obligation to repay the debt.

(ii) If the forbearance is based on the borrower's or endorser's oral affirmation of the obligation to repay the debt, the forbearance period is limited to 120 days, such a forbearance is not granted consecutively, and the Secretary will—

(A) Orally review with the borrower the terms and conditions of the forbearance, including the consequences of interest capitalization, and all other repayment options available to the borrower;

(B) Send a notice to the borrower or endorser that confirms the terms of the forbearance and the borrower's or endorser's affirmation of the obligation to repay the debt and that includes information on all other repayment options available to the borrower; and

(C) Retain a record of the terms of the forbearance and affirmation in the borrower's or endorser's file.

(iii) For purposes of this section, an “affirmation” means an acknowledgement of the loan by the borrower or endorser in a legally binding manner. The form of the affirmation may include, but is not limited to, the borrower's or endorser's—

(A) New signed repayment agreement or schedule, or another form of signed agreement to repay the debt;

(B) Oral acknowledgement and agreement to repay the debt documented by the Secretary in the borrower's or endorser's file and confirmed by the Secretary in a notice to the borrower; or

(C) A payment made on the loan by the borrower or endorser.


(i) The borrower is performing the type of service that would qualify the borrower for a partial repayment of his or her loan under the Student Loan Repayment Programs administered by the Department of Defense under 10 U.S.C. 2171, 2173, 2174, or any other student loan repayment programs administered by the Department of Defense.

(ii) To receive a forbearance under this paragraph, the borrower must submit documentation showing the time period during which the Department of Defense considers the borrower to be eligible for a partial repayment of his or her loan under a student loan repayment program.

(b) Administrative forbearance. In certain circumstances, the Secretary grants forbearance without requiring documentation from the borrower. These circumstances include but are not limited to—

(1) A properly granted period of deferment for which the Secretary learns the borrower did not qualify;

(2) The period for which payments are overdue at the beginning of an authorized deferment or forbearance period;

(3) The period beginning when the borrower entered repayment without the Secretary's knowledge until the first payment due date was established;

(4) The period prior to a borrower's filing of a bankruptcy petition;

(5) A period after the Secretary receives reliable information indicating that the borrower (or the student in the case of a Direct PLUS Loan obtained by a parent borrower) has died, or the borrower has become totally and permanently disabled, until the Secretary receives documentation of death or total and permanent disability;

(6) Periods necessary for the Secretary to determine the borrower's eligibility for discharge—

(i) Under § 685.206(c) through (e);

(ii) Under § 685.214;

(iii) Under § 685.215;

(iv) Under § 685.216;

(v) Under § 685.217;

(vi) Under § 685.222;

(vii) Under subpart D of this part; or

(viii) Due to the borrower's or endorser's (if applicable) bankruptcy;

(7) A period of up to three years in cases where the effect of a variable interest rate on a fixed-amount or graduated repayment schedule causes the extension of the maximum repayment term;

(8) A period during which the Secretary has authorized forbearance due to a national military mobilization or other local or national emergency;

(9) A period of up to 60 days necessary for the Secretary to collect and process documentation supporting the borrower's request for a deferment, forbearance, change in repayment plan, or consolidation loan. Interest that accrues during this period is not capitalized; or

(10) For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed before July 1, 2008, to align repayment with a borrower's Direct PLUS Loans that were first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, or with Direct Subsidized Loans or Direct Unsubsidized Loans that have a grace period in accordance with § 685.207(b) or (c). The Secretary notifies the borrower that the borrower has the option to cancel the forbearance and continue paying on the loan.

(c) Period of forbearance.

(1) The Secretary grants forbearance for a period of up to one year.

(2) The forbearance is renewable, upon request of the borrower, for the duration of the period in which the borrower meets the condition required for the forbearance.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1845–0021)
[59 FR 61690, Dec. 1, 1994, as amended at 61 FR 29900, June 12, 1996; 64 FR 58968, Nov. 1, 1999; 65 FR 65629, Nov. 1, 2000; 66 FR 34765, June 29, 2001; 68 FR 75430, Dec. 31, 2003; 71 FR 45712, Aug. 9, 2006; 73 FR 63255, Oct. 23, 2008; 74 FR 56003, Oct. 29, 2010; 78 FR 65832, Nov. 1, 2013; 81 FR 76080, Nov. 1, 2016; 84 FR 49926, Sept. 23, 2019; 87 FR 66055, Nov. 1, 2022]