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Postponing Payments

Trouble Making Payments

If you're having trouble making payments or if you anticipate that you may have trouble making payments, contact CornerStone immediately. We will help you find your best option, including but not limited to:

Postponing Payments

The two methods of postponing your student loan payments are deferment or forbearance. You can find out if you qualify for a deferment or forbearance by taking the eligibility quiz in Account Access.


What is deferment?

Deferment is a period of time in which your payments are temporarily postponed. You have to meet specific criteria to qualify for deferment. To be eligible for a deferment your loans must be in repayment and you must provide CornerStone with appropriate documentation.

What deferments may be available?

Eligibility requirements differ for each deferment type. Detailed eligibility requirements are available on each deferment request form. Deferment may be available to you in the following situations:

  • While you're enrolled at least half time in college or in a career school.
  • While you're enrolled in an approved rehabilitation training program.
  • While you're enrolled in an approved graduate fellowship program.
  • For up to 3 years while you're in a period of economic hardship.
  • While you're on active military duty during a war, military operation, or national emergency.
  • For up to 3 years while you're unemployed or unable to find full-time employment.
  • During the 13 months after active duty military service or until you're enrolled at least half-time, whichever is earlier, if you are a member of the National Guard or reserve of the U.S. armed forces and you were called or ordered to active duty while enrolled at least half-time or within 6 months of having been enrolled at least half-time.
  • You're disabled or caring for someone who is disabled.
  • While you're on leave from work because you are pregnant, caring for your newborn child, or caring for your newly adopted child.
  • You're a working mother who entered the workforce within one year of your deferment request, working full time earning less than $1 more than the federal minimum wage, and are the mother of a preschool-age child who has not yet entered elementary school.
  • You're in public service including the Peace Corps, Action Programs, or a tax-exempt organization.

If you have a Direct loan that was disbursed before July 1, 1993, you may be eligible for additional deferments. Contact CornerStone for more information about these additional deferments.

Does interest accrue during deferment?

During deferment, any accrued interest on your subsidized loans will be paid by the U.S. Department of Education. You are responsible for any accrued interest on your unsubsidized or PLUS loan(s). If you do not pay the interest during the deferment period, it will be added to your principal (capitalized) at the end of the deferment period. Because interest is added to your principal when it is capitalized, you will pay more over the life of your loan.

Click here for our deferment request forms.

You can use this calculator to see what the cost of deferment would be on your loans.


What is forbearance?

Forbearance is another tool you may be able to use to if you are having trouble making payments. If you are willing but financially unable to make your scheduled payments and do not qualify for a deferment, CornerStone may allow you to temporarily reduce the payment amount or temporarily postpone your payments. During forbearance you are responsible for the interest that accrues on both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. There is no fee to receive forbearance.

What types of forbearance may be available?

There are two main types of forbearance: discretionary and mandatory. If a forbearance is discretionary, CornerStone decides whether or not to grant forbearance. You can request a discretionary forbearance if you are experiencing financial hardship or illness. If a forbearance is mandatory, CornerStone will grant it as long as you meet all eligibility criteria. You can request a mandatory forbearance if:

  • You are enrolled in a medical or dental internship or residency program.
  • You qualify for the Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program.
  • You were activated by a governor while serving in the National Guard and you are not eligible for military deferment.
  • You're teaching to qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
  • Your monthly payment for all your student loans is at least 20% of your monthly gross income.

Does interest accrue during forbearance?

You are responsible for paying interest that accrues during forbearance. Any interest you don't pay during the forbearance period will be added to your principal balance (capitalized) at the end of the forbearance period. Because interest is added to your principal when it is capitalized, you will pay more over the life of your loan.

Click here for our forbearance request forms.

You can use this calculator to see what the cost of forbearance would be on your loans.