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How to Consolidate Your Student Loans

How to Consolidate Your Student Loans
by Joe Taylor Jr.
Debt Relief Options Columnist


Rolling all of your student loan debt into a single account doesn't have to be a complex process. Experts note that the average graduate can enjoy debt relief of $2,000 in interest savings by consolidating $10,000 in debt over a ten-year period. Lower payments and reduced interest can help avoid student default while saving you money.

First, make a list of your current student loan debt. While you won't be able to roll credit card bills or personal debt into your loan consolidation, you can include all of your student loans. Next, choose a lender to handle your student loan debt. Most college graduates leave school with a variety of loans, often placed with different public agencies and private lenders.

After selecting a lender, the loan consolidation process is fairly straightforward. Complete a student loan consolidation application and list all of your outstanding student loans. Once your consolidation loan is approved, your lender will transfer funds to pay off your existing student loan debt and open a single, manageable account in your name.

Remember that you can only participate in the student loan consolidation process once. Start the loan consolidation process shortly after graduation to earn a discounted interest rate. Regardless of when you enter the loan consolidation process, you'll enjoy lower overall minimum payments while locking in a low interest rate for the life of your student debt loan.

Some companies and non-profit debt counselors claim to provide debt relief by consolidating your student loan with credit card bills and other debt. However, those loans do not provide the benefits or the low interest rates of an official student loan consolidation package. Confirm that your lender is a participant in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Consolidation Loan program.

Sources
New York Times
U.S. Department of Education
WISH-TV
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