This information relates to the older “mortgage-style” loans, rather than the newer “income contingent” (PAYE) ones, and is relevant to the UK only.
One of the many tactics the Student Loans Company, and its various successors, use to prevent deferment of loan repayments is making the deferment form hard to access.
Here is a PDF copy of a blank deferment form, ready to be filled in, from the Student Loans Company.
Hopefully this download will save a few people from having to go through the farcical annual ritual of telephoning, being cut off, calling back, being lied to, waiting for the form to come in the post, beware of the leopard, etc.
The lenders & Student Loans Company all habitually “lose” (discard) deferment forms, and lie, in order to prevent people who are entitled to defer their loan from doing so. Be persistent, keep copies of all documentation, and never give up. Once you’ve reached the end of their complaints processes, you can open a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman.
So long as you have correctly followed your lender’s own complaints process, a complaint to the Ombudsman will cost your lender a £500 fee. Open official complaints in writing to both your lender (if your loan has been sold on by the Student Loans Company) and the Student Loans Company (who process all deferment requests).
Remember that deferment is your right, if your income falls below the threshold (£2318pcm at time of writing). You’re doing nothing morally or legally wrong by deferring, and your credit history is not impaired by doing so. Once you have successfully gone through the process, you must set yourself a reminder to start the process again in 11 months time, assuming you remain entitled to defer.
Unfortunately, if you cancel your Direct Debit to your lender even after submitting a valid deferment form, your credit history may be affected.