Student Loan Consolidation
With the prices of things going through the roof, going to college can be very costly. Many students don’t have thousands of dollars to pay their way through college. This is why many college students use student loans to get themselves through college. When it comes time to pay back their student loans, it can be a real burden and a distraction from their career.
The idea of student loan consolidation is to take all the different student loans and put them into one easy convenient loan. You then only have to make one monthly loan payment every month, instead of several loan payments every month over time. Having a lower interest rate and fewer checks to write every month are a couple of advantages of doing a student loan consolidation. While you're in school or in the grace period, your loans have a lower interest rate. So consolidating during those periods gets you a lower rate.
Loan consolidation can be a good way to simplify and manage the repayment process. There are two very different types of student loan consolidation programs: one for federal student loans and one for private student loans (sometimes also called alternative student loans). While these two programs do differ in many ways, they share the goal of helping you reduce your monthly student loan payments, particularly in the early years as you begin your career.
How is the interest rate for the consolidated loan decided?
The interest rate for your consolidated loan is calculated by averaging the interest rate of all the loans being consolidated and then rounding up to the next one-eighth of one percent. The maximum interest rate is 8.25 percent. To figure your interest rate, visit an online loan consolidation calculator that will do the math for you.
How much do you save?
How much you save by consolidating loans depends on what interest rate you get and whether you choose to extend your repayment plan. In the United States, consolidating student loans can reduce monthly payments by up to 54 percent. However, the only way to reduce your payment this much is to extend your repayment plan. You typically have 10 years to repay student loans, but, depending on the amount you're consolidating, you can extend your repayment plan all the way up to 30 years.
Remember that if you choose to extend your repayment term, it will take longer to pay off your overall debt and you'll pay more in interest
Starting points to a loan consolidation
- First, take inventory of your current loans. Make sure you know the type, amount, holder, and status of each loan.
- Next, factor student loan payments into your monthly budget and establish how much you can afford to pay each month. This will help you decide how long to extend the term. Remember, the longer the term, the higher the overall cost of the loan.
- Finally, contact your lender to begin the application process.
Benefits of Student Loan Consolidation
- Locks in a fixed, usually lower, interest rate for the term of your loan, potentially saving you thousands of dollars
- Lower monthly payments
- Extending your payment period. You may have a lot of student loan debt. With federal consolidation loans you may be able to extend the payment term up to 30 years. The idea is to get some leverage until your career takes off.
- While still in school, eligible students can lock in a low rate. This would put you into repayment status, but since you are still in school, you are automatically put into deferment. The drawback of consolidating your loans while in school is that you lose your 6 month grace period. The solution to this would be to request forbearance for up to 1 year on your student loan consolidation.
- Lower interest rate. Student loan consolidation can save you thousands of dollars. You may be using credit cards with 10% to 28% interest trying to keep up with your bills. This can cost you thousands of dollars when you pay the minimum monthly payments on high interest credit card debt. Having a student loan consolidation may be your best option if you can get lower interest rates when consolidating your student loans.
- New interest rates. With a new student loan consolidation, you may be able to get a much better interest rate. Interest rates are now at an all time low. You may have been paying on debt you built up from several years ago, at high interest rates.
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