Should you Consolidate Student Loan Bills?

Pete Glocker

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Make the right choice on grace periods, length of loans and consolidation.

Let’s see here, you just graduated college and got hired at your first job. It is now a month before holidays and (two, three or four) different loan companies send you statements in the mail informing you that you have to start paying on your student loans next month. You must be thinking, it is the holiday season and I have to buy gifts and pay my bills. How am I going to afford to start paying off my student loans? Here is how.

Grace Periods

Many recent college graduates choose the option to defer their loans for six months. That is how long the grace period is for student loans. It may be a good idea to take advantage of this option if it took you a while to find a job or if you are starting out on a low salary. Most entry-level positions do not offer the highest salaries. However, if you do have a decent salary job or if your loan is not tremendously high, it may be smart to start paying right away because the faster you can pay off your student loan, the easier it would be for you to buy a house and save money for the future. Remember, you will have to eventually have to pay back your student loan, so the longer you prolong paying, the more time it will take you to pay it off and the more it will cost you in added interest charges.

Length of Loans

Student loan repayments are usually scheduled over ten years. Lenders can have the option to have floating interest rates on loans, but cannot exceed 8.25 percent due to Federal Government laws. So obviously, the shorter the length of the loan; lenders have less of an opportunity to change your interest rates. Many lenders give you the option of extending your repayment length. Students with $60,000 or more in student loans may opt to extend their payment period up to thirty years. Basically, it is common since; the shorter the payment period of the less money you will spend on interest.


If you have three or more different lenders like most students with the government issued Stafford Loans, it is definitely in your best interest to consolidate them into one. The reason being, you can have one loan with a locked low interest rate. Most consolidated loans have an interest rate of five percent or less. So instead of paying three different payments with different higher interest rates, it is best to have one lower fixed rate.

Remember, student loans are a financial obligation that will affect your credit history and influence your credit score . Be responsible, pay them off in a reasonable amount of time, pay them off sooner and you could save thousands of dollars in interest. The dollars you save could be the down payment on your first home.

Copyright 2005 Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp.


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