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I have about 17,000 dollars in student loans (half private and half government). I spoke with someone from Direct Loans and was told that if I consolidate my private loans with another company, it is as though the loan begins and my payments begin again. Therefore, it is best (in her words) that I consolidate with them so I don't lose my previous payments. 1. Does that also mean that any interest that accrued while I was in school (on both my private and government-funded loans) would be eliminated? 2. Also, can I consolidate both private and government loans together or do they need to be consolidated separately (I have 2 in each category)? 3. Lastly, can you consolidate government loans with any other lender other than Direct Loans? I know these are a lot of questions, but I really need some guidance with this. Thank you in advance!
Wow. This is a lot of information. Thanks! I also want to mention that the person I spoke to at Direct Loans said that I could consolidate my loans and sign up for an income-contingent payment plan (about $75 a month instead of the $120 I am paying now) and that after 10 years, it would be "forgiven" because I am in the public service field. I don't think I have to consolidate to be able to apply for this, but would I be paying less in the long run if I consolidated with direct loans and got on an income-based repayment plan vs just doing what I am doing now (paying the $120 w/o consolidating)? Thanks for your help so far, it really is my goal to pay this off as fast as possible (within my means).
Another question, last one I promise: If I decide to not consolidate, does that mean that I will always have a variable interest rate? I understand not wanting to consolidate because it stretches out the life of your loan, but can't you consolidate to get a fixed (and hopefully lower) interest rate, but then make the same payment. Are you not able to pay off consolidated loans early?
Kim: 1. No, accrued interest is not erased - if you choose to consolidate, you'll be refinancing the full amount that you owe as of the day that the consolidation takes place. That includes all unpaid interest that has been added to your debt. 2. You can not consolidate both federal and private loans together. That's not bank policy - that's federal law. 3. In fact, the only consolidation loan that you're likely to find right now is the Direct program for your federal loans (ONLY). I don't know of a single lender that is consolidating private loans, and I've done the research several times now. If you want to verify a few examples of lenders who are not consolidating private Idaho even government loans right now, you can check here: (Ed Fed) , here: (Citi) and here: (Sallie Mae) Do yourself a favor - sit down with someone who really understands the consolidation process before you decide to take that route. As a process, consolidation is NOT designed to save you money - in fact, it will cost you a LOT of money in the long run. Consolidation cuts your monthly payments by stretching your repayment term over a a much longer period of time. There's one simple rule of borrowing, and that rule is this: The longer it takes you to repay the loan, the more you'll pay in interest. Your $17,000 in student loans will require a payment of a couple of hundred dollars a month - depending on the interest rate on those private loans that you mentioned. If you pay that couple of hundred dollars for 10 years, you will have paid back about $24,000 by the end of your repayment - the $17,000 you borrowed, plus about $7000 in interest. If you consolidate the $17,000 to a 20 year repayment plan, your monthly payment will drop about $75 per month (somewhere around $125), and you'll pay back more than $32,000 - the original $17,000 plus almost that much again in interest. Consolidation is an option for borrowers who have fallen behind on their loan payments, and who are considering alternative payment plans to avoid default. Otherwise, it's not a very attractive financial strategy. If you are having temporary difficulty repaying your loan, you should talk to your lender about a financial hardship deferment and/or other alternative payment plans. Good luck!
1. Just who is "Direct Loans"? 2. My experience with student loans is that the accrued interest is included in the amount borrowed with the new loan. So no, it won't be eliminated. You won't "lose" any "previous payments". You should make sure of one thing though. MAKE SURE that there is no prepayment penalty on your current loan and that there is no clause stating that prepayment will not be allowed. CHECK THE PAPERWORK FOR THAT. Don't trust someone's word (I write that because I get the impression that I'm answering the question of a young person here. I'm ALWAYS AMAZED how trusting MY kids are!) NEVER sign for a loan that has ANY kind of language about prepayment EXCEPT that you get some kind of break for doing so (say, a certain amount of currently-accrued interest forgiven, etc.) 3. Let's get something straight. What happens when you consolidate loans is that the previous loan is paid in full; the amount is picked up by the new loan. So, which loans you can consolidate into whatever other loan depends on the new lender. 4. Except for what I wrote about prepayment, they should accept the money any way it comes. Maybe I'm not understanding your question, though. If you mean "Can I consolidate any other type of government loan?", that would depend on the language of the loan. My own experience with Stafford loans is that they can be consolidated. You also might want to check for free money. There are government websites if you feel like wading through a bunch of garbage to get what you want, or if you don't, there are websites such as Above all, DO NOT fall for one of the "kit" scams on the web by which you PAY for the information!
1. Interest that has accrued while you are in school is NOT eliminated when you consolidate. The new (higher) loan amounts are what is consolidated, not the original amount you borrowed. 2. No, you can not consolidate (nor should you want to) private vs federal loans together. Federal loans have some benefits that others don't that (if you consolidate with a non-federal source) you would loose. For example: if you were to die or become disabled, your federal loans would be discharged and your relatives or estate would NOT have to be used to repay them. This is not the case with private student loans. If you were to die or become disabled tomorrow, your cosigner would be responsible for repaying those private loans... period. Non federal Consolidation makes those benefits go away. There are many other benefits to federal loans that would take to long to explain that you would also loose. Mostly mandatory forbearance, forgiveness and discharge policies. 3. I do not believe there are any other options for federal student loan consolidation. That would be like trying to file your federal income tax returns with someone other than the federal government. :-)
Household borrowing has risen almost 60 percent to $6.5 trillion in the past five years.* It's all too easy to whip out a credit card and purchase items you really can't afford. While it's true that overcharging is clearly the cause of most credit problems, there are some additional credit mistakes that can really cost you. Take a look at the top five mistakes listed below. *The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2000 1. Not valuing your credit. Good credit is a valuable commodity in today's economy. Bad credit, including a bad credit record, late payments, etc. can be a negative financial profile that can surface when you have a legitimate need to borrow. Buying a home is a necessary use of credit that few people can avoid. Abusing short-term credit obligations, or over-extending through short-term debt, can cause a mortgage lender to reject your application for a home mortgage. 2. Allowing a need for status to overrule common sense. Most credit card companies now offer a "status" card, targeted to the consumer's desire to have the very best of everything. Status cards often have higher credit limits, more frills and the largest annual fees-- from $75 to $100. Avoid paying extra for status. The basic card from the same company offers the same basic features, and a much lower annual cost. 3. Raising credit card limits If you use credit cards, avoid raising your limit. An increase limit is merely an increased temptation to buy. Many companies notify you that they are raising your limit. Take such notices as a warning, signal if your such a good customer the card company wants more, chances are you've been using your credit card for more than emergencies. To refuse an increase simply call or write the card company and say, "Thanks but no thanks." 4. Stretching out an installment loan to get lower payments When using an installment loan, people often want to stretch out the life of the loan. Their objective is lower monthly payments, but the result is higher interest charges over the life of the installment loan. You should always select the shortest payment period possible to avoid overpaying. If making the payment will be a struggle, (for a car, appliance, etc.) ask yourself whether the purchase is really a good idea. 5. Not knowing your interest rate and fees Fees vary widely among cards. Always make sure you know what the rate and annual fees are before you accept the card. If you have existing cards, check the rate you are paying, and if it is high, shop for a card with a lower rate. These common mistakes could cost you hundreds of dollars -- dollars you could instead be using to build future security.
I can't answer much for you. All I know is that you cannot consolidate private and government loans. But you can consolidate them each separately. IE: you can consolidate all private loans into one, and all government loans into another. Consolidating your loans offers you one lower monthly payment. Interest rate is never eliminated, sorry.
I always spend my half an hour to read this blog's posts daily along with a mug of coffee.