Office of the Bursar graduation cap
The Billing and Payment Gateway of UMass Amherst

Financial Difficulties: Economic Hardship

A borrower is entitled to an economic hardship deferment for periods of up to 1 year at a time if the borrower provides the school with satisfactory documentation showing that:

  1. The borrower has been granted economic hardship deferment for either a Stafford or PLUS Loan for the same period of time.
  2. The borrower is receiving federal or state general public assistance.
  3. The borrower:
    does not work full-time
    - and his/her gross income does not exceed twice the poverty level
    - and after deducting the total monthly payments for their federal education debt from their monthly gross income the amount remaining does not exceed the larger amount for their state of residence listed below.
  4. The borrower is working full-time and is earning a total monthly gross income that does not exceed the monthly earnings of someone earning the minimum wage or 150% of the poverty guideline for a borrower's family size.
  5. Currently serving as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. 

Maximum Length: 36 months. Borrowers  must reapply every 12 months

Minimum Wage and Monthly Earning

Federal Minimum Wage Rate Monthly Income
$7.25 $972.50

150% Poverty Level Guidelines

State Monthly Income Does Not Exceed
Alaska $2457.50 plus $635.00 per additional family member
Hawaii $2261.25 plus $583.75 per additional family member
All other states $1966.25 plus $507.50 per additional family member