Deferment for Cancer Treatment for Direct Loan, FFEL, and Perkins Loan Program Borrowers

Federal Student Aid
Deferment for Cancer Treatment for Direct Loan, FFEL, and Perkins Loan Program Borrowers

The Department of Education Appropriations Act, 2019, Title III of Pub.L. 115-245 created a new Cancer Treatment Deferment for borrowers in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan), the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), and the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) programs.

Statutory Requirements for the New Deferment

Qualified borrowers may receive a deferment on their qualifying loans while they are receiving cancer treatment, and for the six months following the conclusion of their treatment. The deferment has no fixed time limit.

A borrower may qualify for the deferment of their Direct Loans made on or after the date of enactment of Pub. L. 115-245 (September 28, 2018) or of their Direct Loan, FFEL or Perkins Loan Program loans which entered repayment on or before September 28, 2018. Loans which were made before September 28, 2018, but which were not in repayment on that date because the borrower was in an in-grace or in-school status are not eligible for the deferment and will not become eligible when they do enter repayment. In addition, a deferment cannot be granted for a period of treatment before September 28, 2018.

Like all other deferments, Perkins Loan borrowers receive a six-month post-deferment grace period before payments resume. This grace period is in addition to the six-month period of deferment that the borrower will receive after cancer treatment ceases.

Under the law, the following loan types will receive an interest subsidy during the deferment:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans

  • Direct PLUS Loans made to students

  • Direct PLUS Loans made to parents

  • Direct Subsidized Consolidation Loans

  • Direct Unsubsidized Consolidation Loans

  • Direct PLUS Consolidation Loans

  • Federal Perkins Loans

  • Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans

  • Federal UnSubsidized Stafford Loans

  • Federal Subsidized Consolidation Loans

Note: While Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans receive an interest subsidy, the law does not permit the Department to reimburse FFEL Program lenders for the interest subsidy.

Under the law, the following loan types will not receive an interest subsidy during the deferment:

  • Federal PLUS Loans made to students

  • Federal PLUS Loans made to parents

  • Federal Unsubsidized Consolidation Loans

  • Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS)

Deferment Request Form

The Department has received approval from the Office of Management and Budget for a new Cancer Treatment Deferment Request Form under OMB Control Number 1845-0154. The expiration date for the form is 7/31/2022. Borrowers, lenders, and their authorized servicers may begin using the attached OMB-approved form immediately.

As reflected on the request form, for the borrower to receive a deferment, a Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy who is legally authorized to practice medicine must certify that the borrower is or was receiving cancer treatment in the physician’s care, and the dates of that treatment.

Lenders or their authorized servicers may only approve a deferment for up to one year of treatment (followed by a six-month post-treatment deferment period) based on the physician’s initial certification. If a borrower’s treatment period lasts longer than 12 months, the physician may re-certify that the borrower is continuing to receive cancer treatment at the conclusion of the one-year period by completing a new Cancer Treatment Deferment request form. The Department will send reminders to borrowers in its loan portfolio that they may request to have their deferment extended if they are still receiving cancer treatment after 12 months of deferment have elapsed. If the borrower does not submit a new request and physician certification the borrower will still receive the extra 6-month post-treatment deferment period at the end of the 12 months of treatment.

The Department recognizes that borrowers undergoing cancer treatment may have a mix of loans that qualify for the deferment and those that don’t. Consequently, the deferment form is not only a request for deferment, but also allows the borrower to request a forbearance on any loans that do not qualify for the deferment. The Department will automatically provide an administrative forbearance to borrowers who have a mix of qualifying and non-qualifying loans. For borrowers with loans held by the Department who request a cancer treatment deferment and who only have non-qualifying loans, the Department will grant the borrower a discretionary forbearance. We encourage FFEL Program and Perkins Loan Program participants to grant a discretionary forbearance to borrowers who have some or only have non-qualifying loans.

Printing Instructions

The form is provided only in PDF format. Program participants are responsible for ensuring that the form they use is the form approved by OMB. No changes may be made to the form except as expressly provided below.

The form must be printed with black ink on white paper. The typeface, point size, and general presentation of the form may not be changed from the version approved by OMB. Any blank spaces at the top, bottom, or sides of the form may be used for bar coding or other information. In addition, contact and submission information can be pre-populated in the section of the form designed for that purpose.


As a reminder, any form which has an expiration date in the past (meaning the form is expired) remains valid for use until the Department publishes a new version of the form with an updated expiration date.

Last Modified: 08/21/2019