Living with two or more student loans can be really challenging, especially for those trying to establish a career or start a family. Fortunately, there is a potential solution to this problem in the form of student loan consolidation.
With loan consolidation, one new combined loan takes the place of your existing loans. The big advantage to this is that it can lower your payments and lower your interest rates. It can also make your life much simpler because you will only have one payment and one lender to deal with.
There is a also ways that you can erase your student loan debt by serving your country and your community. Public Student Loan Forgiveness programs (or PSLFs) allow individuals to get out of some student loans by working for the government or certain non-profit organizations.
The good news is – you can qualify for PSLFs by working at any local, state or federal government job. The bad news is that not every student loan is covered by the program. You will also have to wait 10 years and make 120 qualifying loan payments to achieve total debt forgiveness, so it is not an immediate solution.
With Private Student Loan Consolidation, a private lender pays off your existing loans and issues you a new obligation. In contrast, Direct Student Loan Consolidation is actually a federal-lending program created by The Reauthorization of Higher Education Act of 1992.
President Obama greatly expanded direct student consolidation through the Federal Direct Student Loan (also known as the Obama Student Loan Forgiveness) Program in 2010. This program offers significant advantages for people who are struggling with student loans.
Unfortunately, only certain student loans qualify for PSLF. This means the program may not forgive all of your student loan debt. Under the current program only direct-subsidized, direct-consolidated, direct unsubsidized, Direct PLUS and Stafford loans qualify.
Private student loans and loans that are in default will not qualify for PSLF. If you qualify for PSLF but your loans do not, you will have to consolidate them before applying. Fortunately, it is possible to convert other kinds of student loans to obligations that are eligible for PSLF by taking advantage of the Direct Loan Consolidation program.
After you graduate, leave school, or are attending less than half-time.
No federal law specifically exempts student loans from bankruptcy.
Perhaps. Many borrowers find that their payments will be lower and easier to manage with consolidation. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other factors that can affect your loan payment, including:
Fortunately, there are many different plans available. Including some that might fit your situation. If you are having trouble making payments, the best option is the Income Based Repayment Plan. This plan tailors the payments to your needs; for example, your payments will be reduced if your income is low. Borrowers with little or no income might even qualify for zero payments.
To get your loan payment reduced you will have to be honest and provide proof that you cannot pay. This might include your tax returns, or documentary evidence that you can qualify for government benefits such as Food Stamps, unemployment insurance or Medicaid.
The best way to get your payments reduced is to shop around and do a lot of research. There are a number of consolidation options out there, including private loans. Most people will be able to reduce their student loan payments with a little work.
Yes, if you are attending school less than half the time or if you have loans that are considered “in-school.”
Note: you will not be able to consolidate loans for classes you are currently taking.
Yes if you have at least one federal direct student loan or FFEL, and the issuers of your private loan agree to the deal.