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What are my repayment options and what if I cannot make a payment? | Private Student Loans

This article provides options for those with a private student loan. If you are looking for your options on a student loan refinance, check here

Repayment options

These repayment options are offered once approved for a private student loan. You may not be eligible for all options due to the credit profile of your application.  

  • Deferred: $0 is due while you’re in school and for the first 9 months after graduation. 9 months following graduation, the full minimum monthly payments will be due. The option results in the highest accrued interest and the highest total cost of the loan.
  • Fixed: While in school and for the 9 months following graduation, you’ll make monthly payments of $25. Nine months following your graduation, the full minimum monthly payments will be due.
  • Interest-only: (This option is available for cosigned loans only.) While in school and for the 9 months following graduation, you’ll make monthly payments to cover the interest that accrued on your loan since the last payment. Nine months following your graduation the full minimum monthly payments will be due.
  • Full payment: (This option is available for cosigned loans only.) While in school and following graduation the full minimum monthly payments will be due. This option will enable you to pay the least amount of interest during the life of the loan.  

Having difficulty making payments?

If you're unable to make your payments, there may be options available to you. Some of the following options may have eligibility standards and documentation may need to be provided. It’s important to note, if the primary account holder is unable to make payments, the responsibility for payments will fall to the cosigner.

If the options listed do not meet your unique circumstance or you need additional support, there may be alternative repayment and relief options available to you through our Navient partners. To discuss personalized repayment options with their team, feel free to give them a call Monday through Friday, 5 AM to 4 PM PT (8 AM to 7 PM ET) at 855-203-4596. While you decide which option is best for you, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Your total loan cost will typically be greater over time than the standard repayment plan.
  • You may be required to demonstrate your intent to repay your loan by making one or more payments prior to approval.
  • Forbearance may be used in connection with the program to bring delinquent loans current.
  • Accruing interest during forbearance continues to remain your responsibility. Unpaid interest may be capitalized (added to the unpaid principal) as often as quarterly during the forbearance and again and the end of forbearance. Capitalization may increase your monthly payment amount and total loan cost.

In school or enrolling in classes?

If you attend a Title-IV accredited, not-for-profit school program at least half-time, you may be eligible for deferment. Depending on the repayment option you selected within your application, payments may be fully deferred or require monthly interest-only or $25 fixed payments during the deferment period, but the loan will continue to accrue interest. It’s important to note that we are only able to offer deferment if you are the primary borrower returning to school, not the cosigner. Check out this page for more information.

In the military?

We offer military deferment and SCRA benefits to eligible service members. Check here for further information.

Short-Term Interest-Only 

This program will allow you to make a lower (interest-only) payment on your loan in 3-month increments, up to 24 months. Paying just the interest that accrues will prevent the post-program monthly or biweekly payment(s) from significantly rising by extending the term of your loan by the same number of months this program is utilized (up to 24 months). Making a payment, even a reduced one, is always the best long-term as interest continues to accrue. More information on the Short-Term Interest-Only payment relief option can be found here. 


Unexpected life events can affect your budget, so we offer you the ability to skip one payment through a single, one-month forbearance during a 12-month period. Your first request to skip a payment can be made once you've made at least 6 months of consecutive on-time full principal and interest payments, and your loan is in good standing. You can start your request for a Skip-A-Payment here.


In certain situations, you may qualify for forbearance, a protection offered by Earnest for clients who are experiencing temporary financial hardship. During forbearance, simple daily interest continues to accrue on your loan. More information on forbearance can be found here.

Loan forgiveness and discharge

In the unfortunate event of death or total and permanent disability of the primary borrower or student, Earnest will discharge all private student loans.

We're here to assist and help find the option most suitable for you. Contact us by clicking "Get In Touch" found at the bottom of this article.

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