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Student Loan Consolidation
Why Consolidate Your Student Loans?
It's January of your senior year and time to start thinking about all those loans you took to help pay for college. Between Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans and all the rest, between subsidized and unsubsidized you begin to realize that a year from now you will have run out of grace period and have to start paying back all those loans. You're going to be paying back eight different loans at eight different interest rates and eight terms. It's time to start thinking about a student consolidation loan.
A student consolidation loan could be worth it just to simplify your repayment schedules. But more importantly, if you can get a loan with a lower interest rate than you are paying on your school loans, then you can save yourself some money. If the consolidation loan extends the length of your student loan payback term, then it may have the addedbenefit of lowering the monthly payment now (when you aren't making a large salary). You can always increase your payments as your salary grows.
How to Consolidate Your Student Loans
After deciding to consolidate your student loans, the next step is to figure out how to go about it. You may have several choices of lenders, and what you choose could affect the amount you ultimately pay. Choose carefully.
The Department of Education provides the Federal Direct Consolidation Loans Program. Numerous states have student consolidation loans, some for your federal loans and others for your state loans. Then there are private lenders offering consolidation loans as well. You might first check with your current loan providers to see what they have to offer. They may have a better deal for current customers.
Federal Direct Consolidation Loans
Federal Direct Consolidation Loans are run by the US Department of Education and provide a means to combine multiple Federal loans into one.
You can apply online for the Federal Direct Program by visiting the website at https://loanconsolidation.ed.gov/appentry/appindex.html.
State Student Consolidation Loans
Several states offer consolidation loans as part of their education loan programs. Check with your state to see if they have a loan consolidation program.
Private Student Consolidation Loans
Private loans can not be consolidated under the Federal Direct Plan. If you can't qualify for the federal and state student loan consolidation programs because you have private loans, there are many lenders who make private consolidation loans available to students. Check with your own lenders first to see if they have a consolidation program.
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