If you are a college graduate with student loans, but you are unemployed or cannot afford your student loan payments, you can request forbearance.
Forbearance is permission from the student loan provider to temporarily suspend your payments. That sounds good, and it can be; but did anyone tell you this comes at a price?
Your loan continues to accrue interest while it’s in forbearance, which means the balance continues to go up every month.
Navient, the largest student loan servicer, is currently being sued by the U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) for pushing students to forbear when they could have received lower monthly payments instead — among other offenses. There is a public memo from the top brass at Navient that fairly shouts at employees to “FORBEAR THEM!”
Forbearance is better than non-payment or default, which severely hurts your credit score. But before you request it, ask if you can get a payment plan based on your income. That way, you might be able to get affordable payments and avoid extra interest charges.
The main take-away here is that forbearance can be expensive. So only use it when you have no other option.
You can read more about the Navient lawsuits here.