School is out, you have your diploma, now it’s time to start considering repayment of all those student loans that you took out while achieving your higher education goals. Whether you have two loans or five, it’s a good idea to consolidate to make life easier for yourself. Consolidating loans enables you to combine all those debts, achieve one interest rate, one payment and write one check. Consolidating a student loan will more than likely offer you a lower interest rate, a longer repayment schedule and lower monthly payments. Writing one check each month also makes bill paying easier and reduces the chance of missing a payment or getting behind while you’re trying to juggle all of them at the same time.
Student loans don’t need to be repaid until after you have completed your education, but it’s a good idea to get a jump-start and devise a plan to start repaying those student loans before you have to. Lowering monthly payments makes life a little easier when times are tough, but you should always try to pay more than the minimum balance due on any type of loan to save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. At the same time, having a lower monthly payment to repay those student loans leaves you money to pay for that car you need to take you to that new job, or save a mortgage or rent payment when you’re still trying to get your career on track.
One of the greatest benefits of a private student loan consolidation is that you will be the happy owner of a fixed rate of interest. Many loan interest rates fluctuate with the times, but with a fixed rate, your interest payments will stay the same month after month. Such rates will, of course, depend on the amount of the total loans combined, your current interest rate and how long you want to finance your repayment terms. Some businesses and banks allow you to request a certain repayment period of between 3 to 5 to 7 years, but depending on your loan amounts, this may be extended to a 10-year repayment plan or even longer.
Many different types of private student loans can be consolidated, including but not limited to Health Professions loans, Nursing Student loans, Stafford and Perkins loans as well as PLUS, NDSL and HEAL loans. Always check to make sure you know which kinds of loans you currently have before going to see a lender to consolidate, and have your account numbers, loan balances and interest rate information handy. Always look around and find at least two to three lenders that you feel you might be able to work with in order to find the best interest rates for your consolidation needs. Whether you have graduated or not, it’s a good idea to have a repayment plan in place before you graduate so that you can work repayment loans into your monthly living expenses. Don’t wait until the last minute to start repaying loans, and don’t waste time and money paying high interest rates when you can take a few hours, or even a few days, finding a lender that will allow you to consolidate.