Friday, June 22, 2012

College Loan Consolidation - Advantages and Disadvantages

College tuition is on the rise and students and parents alike are seeking additional methods to help pay for the soaring costs. Student loans, grants, scholarships and work-study are common ways to supplement or completely pay for the cost of college.

Student loans are probably the most popular of financial aid sources. It's quite usual for a single student to take out multiple loans to cover the many expenses of a college education - tuition, transportation, dorm, books, etc.

At the end of a college student's career, they often find themselves facing a hefty sum of financial payments which start after a six to nine month grace period post graduation.

Many students turn to College Loan Consolidation to reduce the stress of multiple, high payments, opting for the lower payments and extended terms of a student consolidation loan. While there are advantages to student loan consolidation, students should fully research and analyze all of the aspects of loan consolidation.

College Loan Consolidation - Federal vs Private

Federal loans are more popular than private loans for a few reasons. Federal loans have lower and fixed interest rates and additional benefits such as grace periods. Private loans usually have higher interest rates, and no grace periods.

When consolidating, keep the types of loans separate in order to retain the benefits of the Federal loans. Federal loans provide a cap on the interest rate, along with fixed interest rates.

College Loan Consolidation - Advantages and Disadvantages

It is important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages before applying for a student consolidation loan.

Advantages include:
# A lower monthly re-payment amount
# Lower interest rate, which may save you money in the long run
# Organization of loans - make a single monthly payment

Disadvantages include:
# Possibly paying more money over the life of the loan
# Most likely paying on the loan for a longer amount of time - 10 to 30 years
# There are few options to consolidate this loan later

If you decide that college student loan consolidation is for you, start by conducting extensive research. Begin with federal student loan consolidation programs such as Federal Family Education Loan Program and Direct Loan Consolidation. They offer fixed interest rates capped at 8.50%. There are also other free resources to help you choose. It is important to shop around and gather as much information as possible in order to make the best decision.

For private student loan consolidation, inquire with various lenders both offline and online. Many times, online vendors provide a lower interest rate and quick approval times.

Perform exhaustive research until you are completely comfortable making a decision, as this decision will make quite an impact on your financial future for a number of years.

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