How many payments do I have to miss before I default on a federal loan?

One of the advantages with the federal loan is the default period is fairly lengthy. You have to be delinquent 270 days or miss nine months of payments before you're actually in default. It's important that it's that long of a time period because the ramifications of defaulting are particularly bad. They add 25% to the balance. Do whatever you can to avoid a default.