Friday, July 24, 2009

Easy Federal Student Loan Consolidation

There is rarely a college student that makes it to graduation without needing to take out a loan. With so many things to buy and very little money while attending college, many college students graduate only to find that the student loan debt that they have accrued is a monstrous amount and that the payments that they must make each month takes up the biggest part of their income. Student loan consolidation is for students who have taken on too much student loan debt.

It can help you turn your financial situation back around by allowing you to consolidate your many loans into one big loan with one monthly payment that better suits your available income and budget.

Federal Government Student Loan Consolidation Options

There are two options that students can look to under the federal government to consolidate. One is called the Federal Family Education Loan program and the other is the Federal Direct Student Loan program. These programs can help you if you owe federal loans that were guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Education, including the Stafford loan, Perkins loan, and Parent Plus loan. These programs offer consolidation at a fixed rate - which means that your rate will stay the same for the entire time that your consolidation loan is in repayment.

Reduce Your Monthly Student Loan Payments

One advantage of taking out a consolidation loan under these programs is that the terms offered for repayment are longer than with some types of consolidation. In fact, payments can be made under these programs for period of time as short as ten or as long as thirty years. This will make the monthly payment that students must come up with each month lower.

On the negative side, a lower monthly payment paid out over a greater number of years can cause the consolidation loan to cost more because there will be more interest charged. Another disadvantage of the government facilitated consolidation loans program is that only student loans from the federal government can be included in the consolidation. The many students that have them with private lenders would not be allowed to add those to the consolidation loan.

Consolidating Private Student Loans

Some borrowers may do better with a private consolidation program. Private consolidation servicers can consolidate the bulk of your debt. Like the government student loan consolidation programs that are discussed above, you would be able to make one monthly payment that reflects the entire balance of student loan debt that you have accrued during your academic career.

With either program that you choose to utilize, a big benefit of consolidation is that you are usually able to negotiate a more favorable rate on your consolidation loan than you are currently paying to your existing lenders. Even a savings of one percentage point in interest can literally save you thousands of dollars during your repayment. And since student loan consolidations are usually written only at fixed rates, you do not have to worry that your loan payments will increase with fluctuating market conditions.

By Jess Peterson

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