Compare Student Loan Consolidation Programs

Many students and parents cannot afford the rising costs of a higher education. Majority of these students have multiple student loans. These loans belong to different creditors. These creditors have different terms of agreement, interest rates and billing cycles. The loan allows students to have these loans turned into one new loan. This new loan would be handled by one creditor.

When students consider choosing a loan consolidation creditor they need to consider the creditor’s requirements, terms of agreement, interest rates and benefits. Student loan consolidation has two methods; these are Federal and Private loan consolidation. Most private creditors advise you to first apply for a Federal student loan consolidation to maximize federal benefits.

Federal loan is when the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Education is the creditor. Federal student loan consolidations are specifically created for low-income students and parents. There are two programs available for Federal Loan Consolidation: Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and Federal Direct Student Loan Program (FDLP). These programs consolidate federal loans including Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins Loans and PLUS Loans.

For a student to be eligible for federal loan consolidation the following would be checked or required:

– Credit history would be checked.

– A student would need to be a U.S Citizen or a permanent resident.

– The student must be either a full or half-time student.

Federal loan limits are set by Congress. These are the limits as follows:

– Year 1: $2,625

– Year 2: $3,500

– Years 3 & 4: $5,500

– Graduate $8,500

Ten years is the standard repayment period. This period can be extended up to 25 years for students with a $30,000 debt. Federal loan consolidation has a standard formula for interest rates. The interest rate is the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated, rounded up to the nearest 1/8 of a percent and capped at 8.25%.

Private Student Loan Consolidation is when a private company or creditor combines multiple private loans into one new loan. This creditor handles the loans, allowing the student to pay for one loan to one creditor. To name a few of these creditors are NextStudent, Chase and EdFed. For private creditors, requirements are based on each company’s standard or requirements. Credit qualification may vary as well if there is a co-signer.

Requirements would commonly be:

– The student must be enrolled at least half-time at a 4 or 5 year college or university.

– The student must be the age of majority in his/her state.

– He/she must be working on their undergraduate or graduate degree.

– There is no income requirement.

– Co-signers are not required to provide proof of income.

The interest rate for private loan consolidation is set by the creditor. Interest rates will be based on the student’s credit history. The cost would be relatively low if the student and the co-signer’s credit are approved. The graduate has six months after graduation before being required to start repayment. The standard term would be 15 years.