07.12.13 | Pros and Cons of Private Student Loan Consolidation

Congratulations on finally finishing college.  While it’s great to be working and living on your own, you now get to pay your own bills (and yes, now you finally understand why your parents always yelled at you for taking more than 10 minutes in the shower).  Amongst these bills, the most pressing may be those student loan repayment letters that start to arrive all too soon after graduation.  With student loan debt averaging out to $23,000 per borrower, you could end up paying $200 per month for the next 15 years!

Fortunately, there is an alternative: college loan consolidation. Student loan consolidation enables you to lower your monthly payments and pay back your loan over a longer period of time. To give you a better idea, let’s explore the pros and cons of consolidating your student loans. (more…)

09.28.12 | 5 Reasons to Consolidate your Student Loans

Pile of Bills

1. Easier Repayment

If you have loans from many different lenders, staying on top of your payments can be tough. Consolidation can help to streamline the repayment process, so you only need to send one check, to one lender (two if you have both federal and private loans).

2. Better Discounts

Many lenders offer student loan discounts for a variety of situations. Discounts can include interest rate reductions for setting up automatic payments, or even for being a current customer of that bank. If your loan does not have any incentives like this, then consolidation may save you some money.
(more…)

03.28.12 | It’s almost graduation – Do you know where your student loans are?

Girl with binocularsWith graduation right around the corner for many-a-senior, the thoughts that occupy the minds of future grads probably revolve more around finals and parties than around repaying their loans. While graduation is absolutely a time for celebrating accomplishments, it also means that loan repayment is looming. Start planning now so that when the time comes, you’re ready and not scrambling to locate your loan paperwork.

Here are five ways you can prepare for repayment right now:

1. Locate your loans

This may sound simpler than it is. Many students lose track of their loans while in school. Whether due to neglect or the buying/selling of private loans, students can have a hard time tracking down who they owe. If you have federal loans (this includes Stafford, PLUS, Perkins) you can log in to NSLDS.ed.gov and find out all of your loan information, including who services the loan. Yes, the Department of Education outsources loan servicing, so while you may have a Direct Stafford loan, your payments may need to go to Great Lakes, for example. If you need to track down your private loans, request a copy of your credit report. This will list all of your loan lenders, plus it’s always good to know how your credit stands.
(more…)

02.10.12 | Special Direct Consolidation Loans

Posted in Consolidation, Loan Consolidation, Repayment, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Merging money street signIn a recent State of the Union Address, President Obama mentioned a Special Direct Consolidation Loan available to some borrowers with federal loans. This loan is not your typical Direct Consolidation Loan, and is only available for a brief period this year. This is a great opportunity for borrowers with the old, FFEL loans, as it will make managing repayment a much simpler task. Let’s take a look at how this loan works.

Background

First, let’s understand a little bit about historical student loans. Before Direct Loans came into play, the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program included four types of loans: Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation. These loans, while still federally guaranteed loans, were made by private lenders and serviced privately. Now under the Direct Loan Program, federal loans are funded directly through the government (though there are four companies who service the loan on behalf of the Dept. of Education).
(more…)

03.22.11 | From our Archives: Consolidation

Posted in Loan Consolidation by Student Loan Network Staff

For students about to graduate, you may want to check out the article New Grads, Start Thinking About Consolidation. This will give you helpful tips on why consolidation can be a good option.

Conversely, the article What NOT to do when Consolidating your Student Loans tells you just that. It provides useful information on the types of situations where consolidation might not be the best option.

While consolidation for federal loans is usually a good idea, it may not be so black and white with private loans. In the current economy, private lenders have been reluctant to grant consolidation loans. Should I Consolidate my Private Student Loans can help students to decide how and where to go to consolidate their private loans.

Still have questions about consolidation? This post may be able to help. From Our Forums: Consolidation Question Quartet! answers a few common questions about consolidating federal loans. Maybe it’ll answer yours. If not, you can always check out the Financial Aid Forum’s consolidation help section.

Hopefully these articles will proves useful in the upcoming months. Remember, if you need more information regarding loan consolidation, visit StudentLoanConsolidator.com.

01.27.11 | Most popular student loans for college

Not everyone is aware of all the loan options available to pay for college. Here are just a few to consider:

1) Federal Stafford Loans – These are federally guaranteed student loans. You can apply for subsidized Stafford loans and the government will pay the interest for you while you are enrolled. This is a great option for students and the most popular loan program available.

2) Parent PLUS Loans – The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students allows parents to borrow through the federal loan program to pay for their child’s education. The loan is in the parent’s name.

3) Private Student Loans – Private college loans are not sponsored by the government but offer an alternative sources of funds for those that may not qualify for federal aid or who need additional funds. Private school loans are often in the students name with the parent acting as a cosigner.

4) Perkins Loan – Perkins loans are another federal loan for low income students based on eligibility. These loan funds are limited so apply early.

5) Credit Cards – Believe it or not, approximately 30% of students/parents put a portion of the tuition bill on their credit card. While we don’t recommend this option, it is a reality. Once you graduate, consider consolidating your student loans to lower your monthly payment. The downside is you will pay more interest over the life of the loan by extending your repayment period. For additional resources, visit: www.studentloans.com, www.collegeloansolutions.com and www.gradloans.com.

01.19.11 | How to Avoid Student Loan Defualt

Posted in Financial Aid, Loan Consolidation, Repayment, Stafford Loan, Student Loans by Student Loan Network Staff

Navigating student loan payments can seem daunting. Before you know it, you’ve graduated and need to start making payments. So what happens if you are unable to make your monthly payments? You can soon find yourself in default.

What it Means to Default on Your Loans

Most loans provide a grace period, (usually about 6 months) where you can live payment-free. So what happens when your payments start and you are unable to pay? This depends on the type of loan you have. With Federal loans, as soon as you miss a payment you are considered in a state of delinquency, meaning your payments are late. At this point, you have 9 months in delinquency before you are in default. Private loans are a little different; you are considered in default as soon as you miss a payment. Once you default, the full balance of the loan is due IMMEDIATELY. Defaulting on student loans can have a lot of repercussions. You will be ineligible for deferment of your loans, your wages can be garnished, and your credit record will be changed, making it difficult to obtain a credit card, auto loan, mortgage, and even a job.

Read on to find out how to avoid loan default. (more…)

09.22.10 | What Will My Student Loan Consolidation Rate Be?

Posted in Loan Consolidation by Evan Jacobs

Depending on the type of student loans you will be consolidating, the interest rate can vary greatly. For instance, federal student loan consolidation allows you to obtain a fixed interest rate based on the weighted averages of your existing loans. Private student loan consolidation is much harder to nail down. (more…)

07.23.10 | It’s July 23rd, Do you know where your loans are?

Posted in Consolidation, Loan Consolidation by Evan Jacobs

If you’ve ever seen those ads on TV late at night asking, “Do you know where your kids are?” you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, well, now you do!

Just as important as knowing what your children are up to at night is the status of your student loans. Specifically, their interest rates and repayment plans. Did you know that because nearly all private student loans have variable APRs, your interest rate could have changed several times in the past 2 years?

One way to make it easier to keep track of your loans is to consolidate them. Of course, there are a lot more benefits than just having one bill and interest rate. Here are some more loan consolidation benefits:

  • A credit score boost
  • Lowers your monthly payments up to 50% (at the expense of more interest overall)
  • The interest rate for private consolidation can actually end up being lower than the average of your consolidated loans (saving money!) based on credit

Sound good to you? If so, then get started on a loan consolidation!

06.17.10 | Confused about reform and consolidation?

Posted in Consolidation, Loan Consolidation by Evan Jacobs

If you’ve heard the word about the reform currently in progress across the country, you probably are aware of the end of the FFEL program and exclusive federal consolidation returning to the Department of Education. If not, read this page on upcoming changes to get acclimated.

One question we get a lot is, “If FFEL is ending, where do we apply for consolidation now?” The answer is Direct Loan Servicing of the US Department of Education. You can apply for consolidation here: Loan Consolidation Center

Make sure to have all your account numbers and payoff balances ready to make the process quick and error-free as possible. Good luck!