Student loan payments (at least public ones…private loan people you’re basically screwed) but public loans can be kicked down the sidewalk through two terms .. Deferment and Forbearance. Same immediate benefit…you don’t have to pay towards your loan, different long term outcome and different requirements.
Deferment is your friend. Your loans are in deferment when you are in school. Basically the clock is not ticking and you’re expected to focus on school rather than your loans. You can pay towards your loans and this is a great time to see how repaying them is going to affect your budget. It’s low stakes cause if you miss a month it doesn’t matter.
But if you leave school, enroll less than part-time or graduate deferment is over. You still have the option of Forbearance. You usually need to show a hardship though as you are not in school and expected to be making money and paying your loan. If your job doesn’t pay you as much as you needed, you get laid off, hours cut or have a medical condition that hits your wallet you can apply for forbearance. During this time you do not have to make payments, but unlike with Deferment the interest clock is still ticking. So you are not paying and your debt is growing. This can be a God send though if you find yourself jobless.
Generally speaking Forbearance and Deferment can be made retroactive. So if you had a payment in January and February that you missed and applying for Deferment in March the deferment covers the previous months and that mark is removed from your credit report.
So simply Deferment puts off loan payments and interest while you are in school and Forbearance puts off loan payments while you are experiencing a crisis.