Student Loan Consolidation Tips

Paying off student loans is a necessary part of the college education process–unless you’re one of those fortunate people who managed to get through your college years without borrowing money. For those who did borrow money, the repayment process can be excruciating, and it can take years to get out from under the debt burden. Fortunately there are a number of ways to pay off the loans quickly. Loan consolidation is one method that works, providing you go about it the right way. Following are a few student loan consolidation tips.

Research

As in many facets of life, the first step in the process of combining your student loans is to do a little research. By going online you will be able to find out the facts you need to know that can help you consolidate your student loans. Enter the words “student loan consolidation” or some similar phrase into your search engine. By following the links that will be provided, you should be able to find the information you need to get you started. Another method that works is to ask your fellow students if they or someone they know has tried a student loan consolidation. If so, ask them how they went about it, and any problems they should try and avoid. A guidance counselor will also be able to provide you with contact information that will help you begin the process.

How It Works

Most student loan consolidations are done to combine federal loans, although it is possible to consolidate private loans as well. A consolidation loan is a process whereby two or more outstanding loans are combined into one payment. Usually you will be able to lower the interest rates you’re paying through this process, thereby lowering your monthly payments. Before signing any papers, you need to make sure the details of the loan will actually save you money. Running the facts and figures past an accountant is a good idea. Have them look over the proposed consolidation and approve it before you agree to the loan. After all, it won’t do you any good to consolidate your loans if you end up paying more than you did to begin with.

Paperwork

In order to be assured that your consolidation loan actually saves you money, you should gather all the pertinent information pertaining to your loans before applying for a consolidation of those loans. Determine the outstanding balance for each loan and the interest rate. Add up the total balance and also the total of your monthly payments. After that’s done it’s time to calculate the savings you will get by consolidating your loans. Again consulting an accountant is advisable. They can help you decide whether or not combining the loans will save you money. It usually does. If your loans are of the federal variety, and not private loans, you can use the Federal Direct Consolidation Loans Online Calculator–you can access the calculator by visiting https://loanconsolidation.ed.gov. This tool will help you determine what your monthly payments will be. It’s important to have the needed information on hand before beginning this process, or you’ll have to stop midway to check your facts. If your loans are through a private lender, you will need to talk to the lending institution about a loan consolidation. Many lenders will be extremely helpful and allow you come up with a loan payment schedule that will satisfy your obligations and still save you some money.

Loan Terms

No matter if the loans you’re trying to consolidate are through the federal government or a private lending institution, you should pay attention to the terms of the consolidation loan before agreeing to it. In most cases you should opt for a consolidation loan that will allow you to pay the loan off early without penalties and have no additional fees associated with it. A straight consolidation of your outstanding debt at a low fixed interest rate is what you’re striving for. You want to make sure the amount of the loan is a figure you’ll be able to handle every month. If you doubt you’ll be able to make the payments, ask for other terms that will lower your monthly payments. The object of a consolidation loan is to allow you to pay off your entire debt quickly. In the case of private loans, a lending institution that you already do business with will probably be able to offer you a very good rate because they want you to maintain a healthy business relationship with them throughout your working career. If not, you can always find a new lending institution that may be willing to accommodate you.

Guest post from Robin Price. Robin writes about online universities for OnlineColleges.net.

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