I Want to Consolidate my Student Loans
It's easy for students to get into debt, and often, you find yourself juggling a number of loans that you've taken out in order to finance your education. Multiple federal student loans can be, to say the least, a major headache. Many students consider consolidating all the loans they've taken out over the years into one, and that can be a good way of easing your financial burden. It's not without pitfalls, though. There are a few things to consider, both pros and cons.
Loan Consolidation Can Simplify Payment
When you consolidate your student loans into one, you can end up lowering your monthly payments by taking up to 30 years to repay. Of course that means that by the time your loan is paid off, you'll be ready for retirement. You'll also be paying more in interest over the long term. You might also lose borrower benefits that you had under the terms of your original loans, including principal rebates, interest discounts, or cancellation benefits.
You Can't Change Your Mind
Once you roll your individual loans into a direct consolidation loan, you can't change your mind and split them up again. The consolidated loans are considered to be paid off - they don't exist anymore.
Still Want to Consolidate?
If you decide to consolidate, the following loans are eligible:
- Direct unsubsidized loans
- Direct subsidized loans
- Unsubsidized federal Stafford loans
- Unsubsidized federal Stafford loans
- Direct PLUS loans
- PLUS loans under the FFEL program
- SLS loans
- Federal nursing loans
- Federal Perkins loans
- Health education assistance loans
A PLUS loan that has been made to the parent of a dependent student isn't transferable to the student through consolidation. Private education loans aren't eligible. Also, if you are in default, you'll have to meet certain requirements before you can think of student loan consolidation in Orange County, California.
When Can I Consolidate?
If you've graduated, left school, or dropped out prior to half-time enrollment, you will be eligible for student loan consolidation in Orange County, California.
What Are The Requirements?
In order to consolidate, you must:
- Have at least one FFEL program or direct loan that is either in repayment or in a grace period.
- Make repayment arrangements with your current lender prior to consolidation, or agree to repay the new loan under the pay as you earn repayment plan, the income based repayment plan, or the income contingent repayment plan.
- You won't be able to consolidate a consolidation loan that already exists, unless you include an additional FFEL or direct loan program. You might, under certain circumstances, be able to reconsolidate an existing FFEL loan without including additional loans.
What is the Interest Rate?
One of the advantages to a direct consolidation loan is that the interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan. It's based on the average of the interest rates on the consolidating student loans, rounded up to the nearest 1/8%. There is no rate cap.
When Do I Start Paying?
Payment begins no later than 60 days after the loan is disbursed. Repayment terms range from 10-30 years, depending on the amount of the loan, payment plan selected, and other education loan debt.
You can, if any loan you're seeking to consolidate is still within the grace period, delay repayment until the end of the grace period. You should indicate this at the time you apply, so that the lender can defer processing your application.
How Can I Apply
A direct consolidation loan can be applied for by visiting StudentLoans.gov. You can complete the application entirely online, or you can download an application that you can print off and submit by mail.
Once your application has been received, your consolidation servicer will begin the process needed for consolidating student loans.