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What Is Student Loan Forbearance?

Student Loan Forbearance is an option for borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without going into default. Forbearance is a helpful option for those facing temporary financial hardships but also has important consequences that borrowers should consider before applying for a forbearance period. While forbearance is certainly a better option than defaulting on a loan, any period where you are not making payments will cause the total amount owed to increase. Because of that, forbearance should only be used if absolutely necessary. Lenders take different approaches to forbearance, so borrowers should know their options and how it may affect their loan balances.

Why Do People Apply for Forbearance?

Borrowers may request forbearance if they are experiencing financial difficulties that make it impossible to meet their monthly payments. This may include a change in employment status, unforeseen medical expenses, or other events that prevent being able to make loan payments. Forbearance is not something that should be taken lightly, and should only be used as a last resort.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Forbearance?


  • The total amount of your debt may increase. Because you are responsible for the interest that accrues during the forbearance period, any accrued, unpaid interest will be capitalized (added to the principal balance of your loan) at the end of the forbearance period. In effect, you are borrowing more money to cover the interest that accrued during the forbearance period.
  • At the end of the forbearance period both your scheduled monthly payment amount and your repayment period may increase.


  • You do not have to make payments on your NC Assist Loans during the forbearance period.
  • You may avoid becoming delinquent by utilizing forbearance that is available to you.

How Does Forbearance with NC Assist Work?

If you take a loan from NC Assist, you may request a forbearance period by contacting us directly. Note that you must continue to make payments until your request is approved. If approved, you can either pause payments or pay less than your monthly minimum. If you elect to pay less than the monthly interest amount, interest will continue to accrue and add to the principal balance of your loan, meaning that the total amount you pay over the life of your loan will be higher than it would otherwise have been if you hadn’t taken a forbearance period.

In other words, forbearance can be very beneficial in emergency situations but it should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

How Long Is an NC Assist Forbearance Period?

NC Assist borrowers who are unable to meet their payments may request up to 3 consecutive months of forbearance for a maximum of 12 months.

What Is the difference between Deferment and Forbearance for NC Assist? 

Deferment and Forbearance are very similar. The difference is typically just related to the type of NC Assist loan you have and the reason for the temporary payment pause.  

Deferments are available to student borrowers (and automatically granted most of the time) for re-enrollment in school after entering repayment.

Forbearances are available for student or parent borrowers who have experienced a financial hardship and require a short term payment pause to avoid delinquency or default.

You won’t need to worry too much about the differences because our NC Assist team can ensure that the right type of payment pause is applied to your loan. 

How Do I Apply for Forbearance?

If you need to apply for forbearance for your NC Assist Loan, you may contact us and request a forbearance period.

capitalized Accrued, unpaid interest that is added to the principal balance of the loan. principal balance Outstanding amount of the loan (which may include capitalized interest) on which the lender charges interest.
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