Student Loaned Consolidation - How does it Work?
Student loans are a great sources of financial aid for students who need help paying for their education. Unfortunately, students often leave college with burdensome debt. In addition, they often have multiple loans from different lenders, meaning they are writing more than one loan repayment check each month. The solution to this problem loan consolidation.
What loan consolidation?
Loan consolidation means bundling all your student loans into a single loan with one lender and one repayment plan. You can think of loan consolidation as akin to refinancing a home mortgage. When you consolidate your student loans, the balances of your existing student loans are paid off, with the total balance rolling over into one consolidated loan. The result is that you have only one student loan to pay on.
Both students and their parents can consolidate loans.
Should I consolidate my loans?
Loan consolidation offers many benefits:
Locks in a fixed, usually lower, interest rate for the term of your loan, potentially saving you thousands of dollars (depending on the interest rates of your original loans)
Lowers your monthly payment
Combines your student loan payments into one monthly bill
In addition, consolidated loans have flexible repayment options and no fees, charges, or prepayment penalties. There are also no credit checks or co-signers required.
You should consider consolidating your loans if the consolidation loan would have a lower interest rate than your current loans, particularly if you are having trouble making you monthly payments. However, if you are close to pay off your existing loans, consolidation may not be worth it.
How will the interest rate for the consolidated loan be?
The interest rated for your consolidated loan is calculated by averaging the interest rate of all the loans being consolidated and then rounding up to the next one-eighth of one percent. The maximum interested rate is 8.25 percent.
To figure your interest rate, visit loanconsolidation.ed.gov for an online calculator that will do the math for you.
How much can I save?
How much you save by consolidating loans depends on what interest rate you get and, whether you choose to extend your repayment plan. According to Sallie Mae, the leading provider of student loans in the United States, consolidating student loans can reduce monthly payments by up to 54 percent. However, the only way to reduce your payment this much is to extend your repayment plan. You typically have 10 years to repay student loans, but, depending on the amount you're consolidating, you can extend your repayment plan all the way up to 30 years. Remember that if you choose to extend your repayment term, it will take longer to pay off your overall debt and you'll pay more in interest. There are no preypayment penalties, so you can always choose to pay off the loan early.
Am I eligible to consolidate my loans?
To consolidate your loans, you must meet the following criteria:
You are in you're six -month grace period following graduation or you have started repaying your loans
You have eligible loans totaling over $7,500
You have more than one lender
You have not already consolidated your student loans, or since consolidation you have gone back to school and acquired new student loans
The following types of loans can be consolidated:
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
Direct PLUS Loans and Federal PLUS Loans
Direct Consolidation Loans and Federal Consolidation Loans
Guaranteed Student Loans
Federal Insured Student Loans
Federal Supplemental Loans for Students
Auxiliary Loans to Help Students
Federal Perkins Loans
National Direct Student Loans
National Defense Student Loans
Health Education Assistance Loans
Health Professions Student Loans for Disadvantaged Students
Nursing Student Loans
Where can I get a consolidation loan?
You can consolidate your loans through any bank or credit union that participates in the Federal Family Education Loan Program, or directly from the U.S. Department of Education. The loan terms and conditions are generally the same, regardless of where you consolidate. You may want to check first with the lenders that hold your current loans.