Student loan consolidation is a way for graduates to have all their student loans combined into one loan. This loan is handled by one creditor. The creditor pays the multiple loans in full, leaving the student to pay for one new loan. Students no longer need to pay multiple student loans with separate billing cycles, dates or interest rates. They now have one loan and one interest rate, to be paid to one creditor.
When considering loan consolidation. You should do the research. First know the terms of agreement, monthly payments, and interest rates for each loan and creditor before looking for a loan consolidation company or program. When selecting a company or program, make it a point to compare them; know their terms of agreement, interest rates and obligations. Once you have carefully selected a company or program you feel is suitable for you provide them the information you had gathered.
There are Federal and Private Student Loan Consolidations. Federal Student Loan allows a student to have all their Federal loans combined into one new loan.
The government provides Federal programs such as:
o The Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL). FFEL will soon be replaced by the Direct Loan program and Pell Grant and the Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDLP). These programs allow students to have their loans from Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins Loans and PLUS Loans combined into one Federal loan. These are fixed-rate loans backed up by the U.S. Government, offered to students and parents.
o The Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDLP) was created by the U.S. Department of Education in effort to assist parents and students with their loans.
Private Loan Consolidation is combining private student loans into one new loan. Before considering private loan consolidation, apply for a federal loan, the reason for this is to better maximize federal loans that are available. Private companies such as Sallie Mae recommend it.
Here are several Federal Loans:
o Perkins Loans are funded by the government. They carry a very low interest rate but are need-based, a financial officer would determine if a student is eligible.
o PLUS Loans are for parents of undergraduate students. There are also PLUS Loans for students as well. Payments on this plan will begin once this loan is approved. PLUS loans allow you to take up to 10 years for repayment. Commercial banks and online lenders offer PLUS Loans for both parents and students.
o Stafford Loans offer a low interest rate. They do not raise their interest rates any higher. Stafford loans do not require a student to pay any interest while at school and are not required to pay the loan in the six months after graduation. It offers 10 years for repayment.
Here are a few private companies that offer Loan consolidation:
o Loan Approval Direct offers interest rates as low as 3 percent. Reducing a student’s monthly loan to as much as 60 percent.
o SLM Corporation or commonly named Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae offers a range of options depending on the type of school or what education program a student would have. Such programs include Federal Stafford Loan, Parent PLUS Loan, Graduate PLUS Loan, Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan, Continuing Education Loan and Career Training Loan.
o Citibank provides programs such as CitiAssist Undergraduate and Graduate Loans, CitiAssist Health Professions; CitiAssist Residency, Relocation and Review Loans; and the CitiAssist Law and CitiAssist Bar Exam Loans. Students receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction in their auto-debit payment program. These programs take up to 20 to 25 years to repay.
o EdFed is another private company. By selecting one of their plans a student can lower their monthly payment by as much as 60 percent. They also provide interest-only payments. The fixed interest on EdFed is the weighted average of the interest rates of the loans a student consolidated, rounded to the nearest 1/8th percent.