Is Cash Back College Loan Consolidation a Reality?
Is Cash Back College Loan Consolidation a Reality?

Cash sells. You haggle, negotiate, shop low interest rates, and look for fee-free loans, but say the words "cash back" and borrowers prick up their ears. Want a little cash in your pocket after you’ve settled on a student consolidation loan?
Myth: Student loan lenders are giving away money hand over fist, like street corner hawkers bidding for your attention.
Truth: “Cash back” is rare. Once upon a time you might have scored a sweet cash bonus from almost any lender on the block, but not today.

Seeing New Ways to Save with Lenders
Good news, though: you can score a deal that lets you keep cash in your pocket when you know where to look.
Competition among lenders is stiff for the consolidation loan market. The cost of a college education is inescapable and the average student loan debt an ample foe. Nearly everyone must borrow at least one or two loans from the federal government. Student consolidation loans have been on a non-stop upward climb as increasing numbers of college grads try to balance their personal financial budgets and avoid delinquent payments and, worst case, default and even bankruptcy.

**Guess what? Federal and private loan consolidations are popular and commonplace. For many borrowers there is no more responsible move.
Forget about any significant “cash back” or savings bonuses when you consolidate your federal loans. Subsidies to lenders have been sharply cut and in turn many lenders have chosen to cut their losses by cutting borrower benefits, particularly in the consolidation area.

Cash, Non-Cash, Rebate and Convenience Incentives
Learn to think more wisely about the benefits any company offers and you’ll keep cash in your pocket and spend less time worrying about your budget. If you are looking specifically for a cash-back option you are not likely to find many. Instead, examine the other perks a lender offers: online financial management tools, quick application processing and approval.
Here’s a perfect example of a “savings” convenience: Sallie Mae offers to fill out your loan application for you.

Sources for Cash Savings when You Consolidate
Lenders no longer are legally able to attach the cash kickbacks to loan deals, but you can still find a few cash prizes and cash savings:
Sallie Mae features a Great Cash Giveaway contest. If you are or become a borrower/customer of SLM you may register to win up to $25,000. Cash prize drawings are held each month.
Shop for lenders that still advertise borrower benefits: interest rate reduction for so many on-time payments and another percent or so off the interest when you pay electronically.

Consolidating private loans? Lenders will advertise “fee-free” and reduced interest rates for on-time and electronic payments. Consider the interest rates attached to the private consolidation loans and compare lenders side-by-side before you decide you’ve struck a deal.

**Your best strategy in the new era of fair lending: weigh all the benefits and costs provided by a student loan consolidation lender. Look for fee-free, interest rate discounts and reductions, remarkable account management and assistance, and even a few short-term or temporary cash sweepstakes or giveaways. Taken all together your “cash” savings could be quite significant.
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