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College Loan Consolidation Tips and Resources
2011-09-28 00:01:07

College loan consolidation can provide financial relief to students carrying multiple student loans. Borrowers who submit late payments or default on loans can quickly destroy their credit rating. Graduates with bad credit will find it challenging to qualify for lending when they need to buy a car or purchase a home. Several college loan consolidation options exist, but will depend on the types of loans currently held. Graduates who obtained private student loans can apply for loan consolidation through banks and credit unions. Private student loans consist of financing obtained through banks, credit unions, credit card companies, and SallieMae. Graduates carrying federal student loans can apply for refinancing through various college loan programs. Federal education loans encompass Parents PLUS, Federal FFELP, Stafford, Perkins, and Federal Direct. Consolidating private and federal loans allow student to obtain a reduced rate of interest and lower monthly installments while eliminating the need to track multiple payment dates. When graduates enter into college loan consolidation they are applying for a new loan to pay off existing federal and private education loans. College loan consolidation is especially helpful for medical and law school graduates who often carry excessive student loans. When several loans are consolidated, graduates eliminate multiple loan payments and are only responsible for one payment. Additionally, loan consolidation allows borrowers to extend payment terms which further reduce monthly installments. Many college graduates find it challenging to stay abreast of student loan financial obligations and multiple payment schedules. Students who obtained subsidized loans are not required to pay interest while they are enrolled in college and during deferments and grace periods. Subsidized student loans include Direct Subsidized, Federal Subsidized, and Stafford loans. Students who obtained unsubsidized college loans must pay interest beginning on the date the loan went into effect and until fully repaid. Unsubsidized loans include Federal Unsubsidized Stafford loans, Federal PLUS, Direct Unsubsidized and Direct PLUS. Students with SallieMae loans only pay interest payments while attending school. Upon graduation, borrowers must adhere to their designated payment plan. Graduates with Direct Loans are required to follow federal guidelines and adhere to established grace periods. With so many different types of loans and payment plans it is easy to see how consolidating multiple loans can make life easier. However, before applying for college loan consolidation borrowers would be wise to consult with a financial planner or tax advisor to determine if consolidation is the best option. One popular source for obtaining accurate college loan consolidation information is Federal Direct Consolidation Loans website at LoanConsolidation.ed.gov. Borrowers can enter information regarding current loans to calculate potential savings of consolidation; obtain instructions for the loan application process; and browse a list of frequently asked questions regarding the advantages and disadvantages of refinancing loans through consolidation. It is important to realize that college education loans cannot be discharged through personal bankruptcy so borrowers must find the financial resources to repay loans. Defaulting on student loans negatively impacts credit scores and remains on credit reports for up to seven years. In order to maintain a high fico score students must pay loan installments on time and in full until loans are fully repaid. If graduates experience extreme financial hardship they might be allowed to restructure college loans under Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Graduates should seek the advice of a qualified bankruptcy attorney to determine if they qualify for this financial provision under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Filing bankruptcy to restructure debt should only be used as a last resort.

Simon Volkov is a successful real estate investor and author who shares personal finance tips and resources. His website is packed with informative articles about college loan consolidation, personal finance, investing, and retirement planning. Obtain money savings tips at www.SimonVolkov.com.

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