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Educational Loan Deferments

IMPORTANT NOTE ADDED November 23, 2022:

On March 27, 2020, the President signed the CARES Act into law, which, among other things, provides broad relief for federal student loan borrowers. In an April 6, 2022, statement, he extended the pause on Federal student loan repayments through August 31, 2022. In an August 24, 2022, statement, the Department of Education announced a further pause on repayment through December 31, 2022.

On November 22, 2022, the student loan pause was extended until the U.S. Department of Education is permitted to implement the debt relief program or the litigation is resolved. Payments will restart 60 days later. If the debt relief program has not been resolved by June 30, 2023, payments will resume 60 days after than. The federal government will notify borrowers before payments restart.

Read more on the Federal Student Aid webpage Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents.

 Participants in NIH training programs who wish to have their educational loans deferred while in training at the NIH should submit the following documents via encrypted email to as PDF files. When sending documents by email, please DO NOT ADD your social security number. This information is NOT needed. Please view this link for instructions on how to send an encrypted file using Outlook (The directions you need are on page 3.):

(1) The deferment form from the lending institution (for Federal loans, this is the Graduate Fellowship Deferment Request). Note that this form was recently updated. Our link will take you to the most recent version. Please include all pages (the last page generally contains the address to which the deferment form should be sent) and please sign the form. You should check the box indicating that you are "in full-time course of study in a GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP program." NOTE: We DO NOT provide the deferment forms.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Once your forms are processed, you will be responsible for uploading them to your lender's  website.

(2) A short memo from your supervisor (on NIH letterhead) verifying the beginning and ending dates of the one-year period for which you are requesting a deferment and the program in which you are participating (e.g., Postbac IRTA, Postdoc IRTA), and describing, in brief, the research in which you are involved.

The Office of Intramural Training & Education will certify your participation in the appropriate training program ONLY for a twelve-month period and forward the forms to the lending institution; however, approval of loan deferments rests exclusively with the lending institution.  Loan deferment paperwork must be filed annually.

When your loan deferment forms have been signed and submitted to the lender(s), you will receive an e-mail containing PDF copies of the document(s). Please keep this information for your records. You will upload this PDF directly to your lender's account to submit your deferment request. 


  • Loan deferments for graduate students at NIH will be handled by their academic institutions.
  • Our office DOES NOT process loan deferments from graduate students or postdoctoral fellows at other institutions, even if they are participating in an NIH-funded training program.
  • Our office only certifies forms from NIH postbacs, postdoctoral fellows, and MRSP scholars. Research fellows and clinical fellows are not eligible for loan deferment through our office.
  • We are not able to sign deferment forms that indicate a trainee is in a medical Residency/Internship program.

Download a detailed Loan Deferment Checklist.

Questions: Send e-mail to