There are plenty of student loan consolidation options available for the savvy borrower, and one of them will probably fit your life.
So you’ve worked your tail off for the last several years eating Ramen and pulling all nighters while living on your student loans that almost covered the bills, and now you’ve got a great job, a new life and a mountain of debt. Life next pop quizWhat do you do? Fortunately for today’s education Loan borrowers there are plenty of options to help you get your new life started without having the old one hanging around your neck like an anchor. There are plenty of student loan consolidation options available for the savvy borrower, and one of them will probably fit your life.
Most people start their borrowing with a Federal Family Education Loan or FFEL. FFELs cover both subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and an FFEL consolidation loan can wrap both of a borrower’s federal loans into a single manageable package. FFEL consolidation programs offer extended repayment terms and fixed rates, and in some cases even those who have been in default in the past can qualify. If you have any federal education debt an FFEL consolidation loan should be the first place you look.
Of course not everyone was fortunate enough (or thrifty enough) to have their federal loans cover all of their expenses while in school. People who needed Private loans aren’t left out in the cold though. Many companies also offer consolidation packages that will let you put all of your private loans into a single payment. Private consolidation offers many of the same benefits as an FFEL consolidation, but be aware that FFEL and private loans cannot generally be consolidated into a single package. You may need to get two separate consolidation loans, one for your federal loans and another for the private ones.
Many parents use the PLUS loan program to borrow for the children’s education. PLUS loans can be consolidated using a PLUS consolidation program much which offers similar benefits and potential pitfalls of FFEL and private consolidation - fixed rates, and lower payments spread over a longer term. Plus loan consolidations are great for some people but parents need to take a good look at all of their options before consolidating.
There are many alternative ways of consolidating education financing. For homeowners a second mortgage may provide a better solution to a consolidation loan giving the borrower the option to put of their education loans into a single package. Private loans from family members are another way some grads handle their finances, and for a lucky few, some employers even offer tuition reimbursement programs.
One of the newest innovations in lending is the idea of micro-financing. Peer to peer lending networks provide the same type structure as peer to peer file sharing networks. With a P2P lending network, borrowers submit their request usually backed by some type of credit check and a variety of lenders bid on it. Usually the P2P organization will service the loan, which may be funded from friends, family members, or even complete strangers.
Making the transition from school life to your career is a road with more than its share of lessons and challenges. Having to make large student loan payments on an entry level salary while trying to save cash for a professional wardrobe, deposits on housing, and other “grown-up” essentials is enough to stop that progress dead in its tracks. There are many things to consider when applying for a consolidation, but knowing that you have options available can help make your transition manageable.
About the Author:
Dennis Powell writes about how to refinance consolidated student loans and the consolidation of federal loan programs for students.