When you are applying for a student consolidation loan, you are trying to take balances from other loans that can be student or parent loans and consolidate them in to one big loan with a single lender. They are available as FFELP (Stafford, PLUS and SLS), FISL, Perkins, Health Professional Student Loans, NSL, HEAL, Guaranteed Student Loans and Direct loans. Some lenders consolidation loans as private loans as well.
Student consolidation loans offer lower monthly payments by extending long terms beyond 10 years. They can run as long as 12 to 30 years depending on the size of the loan. This makes it much easier for a student and/or parents to repay the loan without feeling financially strapped. Of course, by extending the loan, the interest paid is greater.
If you choose to pay the loan off in less than 10 years, the monthly payment may decrease without extending the overall loan terms beyond the 10 years. Keep in mind that you must make monthly payments faithfully in order not to increase the interest paid. The interest rate is an average of all the loans being consolidated, rounded to the nearest 8th of a percent capped around 8.25%. If a student consolidates before they begin repayments, the interest rates could be much lower.
If a student has trouble repaying the loan may be able to take advantage of the “income contingent payment” plan that adjusts to compensate for a lower monthly income. The payments are lower for the first two years and can terms can be extended without consolidation. Keep in mind that each of these options will increases the total amount of interest due.
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