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Repayment Assistance

A variety of options may help you manage or meet your monthly loan obligations.


Applies to Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Stafford Loans and some private loans

Deferment is the postponement of repayment on the loan's principle and interest for a period of time. 

Specific conditions must be met to qualify for a deferment and provisions vary by loan type. Some loans offer deferments for continued enrollment, for borrowers who are unemployed and seeking employment, demonstrated economic hardship or active military service.

For subsidized loans, like the Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan and the Perkins Loan, the government may pay the interest during deferment. Contact your loan servicer or your individual promissory notes for details.

If you are a currently enrolled student and need information about securing a deferment for educational debt borrowed prior to Northwestern, please visit our deferment instruction page.


Applies to Perkins Loans and NU Loans 

Forbearance is the temporary cessation of payments or reduced payments for a certain period of time to relieve a borrower's financial hardship during loan repayment. Ordinarily, the length of time that you request for forbearance, other than for medical residency forbearances, cannot exceed six months at a time.

Forbearance provisions vary. Some loans offer forbearance during periods of financial hardship or during medical residency. Other forbearances may be available for certain loans.

For Northwestern Loan ( NU Loan or Endowed Loan), you may receive the following types of forbearance:

  • Medical Forbearance Request: If you graduated from the Northwestern University medical school and are in a medical residency program or a fellowship program required for training, and you are having difficulties making your loan payments, you may receive a forbearance that allows you to postpone payments. Contact Heartland ECSI and they can assist you in completing a Medical Forbearance .
  • Forbearance Request: If you are experiencing financial difficulties and need to request a forbearance that can allow a temporarily postponement of principal payments from your loan, contact Heartland ECSI who can assist you in completing a Forbearance Request.

Interest on the loan continues to accrue during a period of forbearance and all unpaid interest is capitalized at the end of the forbearance period. At the end of your forbearance, your payment schedule will be adjusted accordingly to repay the loan within the original term. Monthly loan payments will be higher following the forbearance. Refer to your individual promissory notes for details.

Federal Direct Loans

For information regarding forbearance under the Federal Direct Loan program, please visit the U.S. Department of Education's website.


Applies to Perkins Loans and Direct Loans

Loan cancellation is the removal of the obligation for the borrower to pay a portion of or all of the loan's unpaid balance and accrued interest. Cancellation is available only if specified conditions of the particular loan are met, and the required certification is provided. Some cancellations include deferment of interest or a postponement of payments. In some cases, 100% of the principal can be canceled over several years.

Only certain loans have cancellation provisions and differ depending on the type of loan you have. Some loans offer cancellations for service in certain fields or geographical areas or to underserved populations. Contact your loan servicer or refer to your individual promissory notes for details. More information is also available on Northwestern's Financial Wellness website.