Originally Posted by Pitt Chick
What grace period?
I believe the Op is speaking about the 6 month "grace period" provided with federal student loans. When a student doesn't enroll in classes the following semester, they are given 6 months to get on their feet so to speak before student loan payments are first due. Loans still collect interest during this time, but they are not required to be paid.
If I were the OP, I wouldn't take a semester off beyond the summer. I know far too many people who haven't returned after doing so. Do yourself a favor, take even part-time classes (3 or 6 credits) just to stay in that "School Mode". It'll cost much less than full time and you can devote some more time to working and straightening finances.