Do you know how to consolidate your student loans? Need some student loan consolidation advice?
Consolidating loans can be a good way for students to handle mounting debt. It can result in one payment per month, or result in a lower interest rate. What are some tips on how to consolidate your student loans?
Student Loan Consolidation Tip #1: Know what kind of loans you have.
Do you have private loans? Federal loans? Fixed rate loans? Variable rate loans? It's important to be well-informed on the types of student loans you have, as it may have implications. For example, federal loans cannot be consolidated with private loans.
Student Loan Consolidation Tip #2: Understand that declaring bankruptcy usually won't solve your student loan problem.
Generally, student loans aren't dischargeable. This means that even if you declare bankruptcy, student loans won't be erased. They can be discharged in certain situations if a court finds that the loan will be an "undue hardship" on the debtor.
Student Loan Consolidation Tip #3: Consider other options along with consolidation.
In certain situations, borrowers are able to defer their student loan payments. This usually involves a showing of economic hardship. Borrowers may also apply for loan forbearance, meaning they will postpone payments for a short period of time. But, keep in mind that loans that are in forbearance will continue to accrue interest.
Student Loan Consolidation Tip #4: Understand the effects of consolidation.
Consolidating your student loan now may result in lower monthly payments - but it could stretch out the repayment timeline for your loan. This might mean you will end up paying thousands of dollars in additional interest by the time the loan is paid in full.
Student Loan Consolidation Tip #5: Maintain a good credit rating.
If your private loans carry variable interest rates, consolidation could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. But, to get good rate on your consolidated loan, a good credit history is usually necessary.
Of course, there are a lot more sources of student loan consolidation advice out there. But, these basic tips can be useful for graduates looking to consolidate their loans. For logistical information on how to consolidate your student loan, you should consult your lender or find out more information on the Federal Student Aid website, linked below.
- How to Consolidate Student Loans (Oprah.com)
- Consolidation Checklist (Federal Student Aid on the Web)
- Supreme Court Rules for Debtor in Student Loan Discharge Case (FindLaw's Decided)