Private student loans fall under a category called retail credit with its associated rules and multiple state and federal regulations. Unlike federal student loans, lenders servicing private student loans are typically not allowed to offer payment programs or alternatives that might substantially alter the terms of the loan.
This often is understood to mean that any payment relief, i.e interest only payments or forbearance, cannot be offered for more than 6 months, or 12 months total in extreme circumstances. While this can be useful if you’re unemployed for a short time, you may need to seek other alternatives for payment if you simply have high debt but a low income.
Learn more about private loan vs. federal loan repayment principles >