Defer Parent PLUS Loans: How to Do It

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Updated on October 21, 2023

Parent PLUS Loan deferment offers temporary financial relief, allowing you to pause your loan payments while your child is in school or up to six months after graduation or a drop to less-than-half-time enrollment. This option is specifically designed to provide financial flexibility for parents facing financial strain or other challenges.

Additionally, deferring these payments can lead to a loss of credit toward loan forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness and income-based repayment plan forgiveness.

Ahead, we’ll break down the process to defer Parent PLUS Loans.

Related: How Does a Parent PLUS Loan Work

Understanding Parent PLUS Loan Deferment and Interest Accrual

Unlike some other loans, interest does accrue during deferment for Parent PLUS Loans. Since all Parent PLUS Loans are unsubsidized, the federal government does not cover any of the interest that accrues on the outstanding loan balance during the deferment period.

Here’s what you need to know about deferment for Parent PLUS Loans:

  • Deferment Option: It’s optional and allows you to delay payments while your child is enrolled at least half-time, and for another six months after graduation, dropping below half-time enrollment, or withdrawal.

  • Financial Flexibility: Specifically designed for parents facing financial strain or other challenges. Interest will continue to accrue, and if unpaid, will be capitalized or added to the total loan balance.

  • Reason to Consider: If you’re facing financial strain or challenges while your child is in school, deferment temporarily halts payments until six months after your child’s graduation or drop to less-than-half-time enrollment.

  • Parent Going to College: The U.S. Department of Education will allow parent PLUS Loan borrowers to defer their loans while the parent returns to school on at least a half-time basis.

Differences between Deferment and Forbearance for Parent PLUS Loans

If you’ve ever confused the terms deferment and forbearance, you’re not alone. They both offer a way to pause student loan payments, but they have distinct meanings. Here’s how they differ for Parent PLUS Loans:

  • Qualifying Events for Deferment: Deferment is specifically linked to certain situations, such as your child being enrolled at least half-time in an eligible school. Forbearance, on the other hand, may be granted for various financial hardships or other personal reasons. Knowing the criteria for each can guide your decision.

  • Duration of Deferment vs. Forbearance: Deferment for Parent PLUS Loans aligns with your child’s school enrollment and extends up to six months after graduation or dropping below half-time. Forbearance is typically shorter, up to 12 months, but can be renewable. The different durations may influence your choice based on your unique situation.

Specific Situations for Parent PLUS Loan Deferment

Deferment Type




Interest Accrual

Action Required

1. In-School Deferment

While child enrolled at least half-time

Continues with half-time

Usually automatic

Interest accrues; loans are unsubsidized

Request if needed

2. Post-Graduation Deferment

Begins after graduation/withdrawal/half-time drop

Six-month grace period

Usually automatic

Continues; added to balance (capitalization)

Contact servicer if not automatic

3. Military Service Deferment

Active duty parents

Several months

Generally offered for active duty military service during a war, other military operation, or national emergency.

0% interest for Federal Direct Loans made on or after October 1, 2008.

Verbal request and military orders

4. Disability Deferment

Unable to work or attend school due to illness or injury

6 months up to 36 months

Contact servicer and provide supporting documentation

Continues; added to balance (capitalization)

Verbal request

How to Defer Parent PLUS Loans

Applying to defer Parent PLUS Loans doesn’t have to be daunting. Here’s a step-by-step guide to simplify the process:

  1. Determine your eligibility: Parent PLUS Loan deferment is available while your child is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. “Half-time” means your child is meeting the school’s requirements for half-time enrollment. Deferment also extends for another six months after your child graduates, drops below half-time enrollment, or withdraws from school. This provides a buffer during their transition.

  2. Obtain the deferment request form: You can download the Parent PLUS Borrower Deferment Request form from the Federal Student Aid website or contact your loan servicer to request the form. Download: Parent PLUS Loan Deferment Request

  3. Complete the deferment request form: Fill out the required information on the form, including your personal details and the deferment eligibility criteria that apply to your situation.

  4. Submit the deferment request form: Send the completed form to your loan servicer. The contact information for your loan servicer can be found on your loan statements or by logging into your account on the loan servicer’s website.

  5. Continue making payments: Keep making payments on your Parent PLUS Loan until you receive confirmation from your loan servicer that your deferment has been granted.

  6. Consider interest-only payments (Optional): While deferment is in place, you may choose to pay only the interest that accrues on your loan. This can prevent the interest from being added to your loan balance, potentially saving you money in the end. Contact your loan servicer to set up interest-only payments.

Online vs. Offline Methods

  • Offline: The primary method involves downloading, completing, and mailing the request form to your servicer.

  • Online: Some servicers might offer online submission. Contact them to find out about this possibility.

Finding Your Loan Servicer

  • Online: Log in to and look under “My Loan Servicers.”

  • By Phone: Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.

Federal Student Loan Servicers


Phone Number


1. Aidvantage


2. EdFinancial




4. Nelnet




6. Default Resolution Group


Parent PLUS Loan Deferment Requirements

Parent PLUS Loan deferment is specifically tailored to certain situations:

  • Child’s Enrollment Status: Available for parents who have borrowed on behalf of their child enrolled at least half-time, and continues for six months after graduation, withdrawal, or dropping below half-time.

  • Loan Status: Must be in good standing and not in default.

  • Loan Type: Applies only to Parent PLUS Loans.

  • May Apply: During active enrollment. Keep in mind that there is no Parent PLUS Loan grace period.

  • May Not Apply: If not meeting minimum enrollment requirements or if the loan is in default.

  • Frequency of Requests: Deferment can be requested as long as the eligibility criteria are met, with no strict limit, and is tied to the child’s school enrollment status.

Eligibility Determination

To quickly determine your eligibility to defer Parent PLUS Loans, check the following:

  • Is your child enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school?

  • Is the loan a Parent PLUS Loan and in good standing?

  • Is the request being made during your child’s enrollment or within the six-month grace period after they left school?

Repayment and Financial Considerations for Parent PLUS Loan Deferment

Choosing to defer your Parent PLUS Loan is an important decision that can impact your financial future. Consider these aspects to make an informed choice:

Is Deferment Right for Your Parent PLUS Loans?

  • Understand your unique situation, such as temporary financial hardship, to determine whether deferment is the right choice.

  • Weigh deferment against alternatives like refinancing or borrowing private student loans. Consult a financial aid or FAFSA advisor if needed.

What Are the Financial Implications of Deferment?

  • Parent PLUS Loans accrue interest during deferment, so it’s crucial to understand how this affects the total balance.

  • Explore options like income-contingent repayment (ICR) or an extended repayment plan to potentially lower interest rates. And if those payments are still too high, check out our comprehensive guide on Parent PLUS Loan Double Consolidation Loophole for advanced techniques, which can lead to more favorable repayment terms.

How to Manage Payments During and After Deferment?

  • Create a budget that considers monthly payments during and after deferment to maintain financial stability.

  • Use Parent PLUS Loan-specific strategies for effective loan repayment.

Related: Do Parent PLUS Loans Affect Getting a Mortgage?

How to Keep Interest in Check During Deferment?

  • Find out about the interest rate applied to your Parent PLUS Loan to anticipate how the balance will grow.

  • Consider making interest-only payments to prevent interest from capitalizing, or explore refinancing options with a private lender.

  • Speak with a financial aid advisor to weigh refinancing, especially considering potential loss of federal benefits like income-driven repayment plans.

Related: Parent PLUS Loan Repayment Options

Bottom Line

Parent PLUS Loan deferment can be a vital tool for financial flexibility during your child’s education.

Understanding the process, eligibility, and implications ensures you make informed decisions. Whether you’re a parent borrower or a student, this guide provides essential insights.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your loan servicer or a financial aid advisor for personalized assistance.

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Should I defer my Parent PLUS Loan?

Deferment may be ideal if you face financial strain or challenges while your child is in school. Consider interest accrual and alternatives.

Why are my Parent PLUS Loans differed?

Your loans may be deferred automatically while your child is enrolled at least half-time or during the six-month grace period after graduation.

Why am I not eligible to receive a deferment on the Parent Direct PLUS Loan?

Ineligibility may be due to your child not meeting half-time enrollment requirements or the loan being in default

Can you get a deferment on a Parent PLUS Loan?

Yes, deferment is available during your child's at least half-time enrollment and for six months after graduation, withdrawal, or dropping below half-time.

What does it mean to defer a Parent PLUS Loan?

To defer means to pause payments temporarily, allowing financial flexibility. Interest continues to accrue during deferment on Parent PLUS Loans.

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