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“With (our student loan program), if the borrower makes 12 months of on-time principal and interest payments, they can request to release the co-signer,” he says.“That creates tremendous flexibility, especially for families applying for loans for multiple kids.” Students consolidating federal loans can do so through the Department of Education’s website at Loan gov, by phone at (800) 557-7392 or by downloading a paper application at Loan gov/borrower/and mailing it in. Consolidation provides grads with the ability to combine their student loans into one megaloan, but it comes with drawbacks.
Federal consolidation loans come with borrower protections private lenders may not offer.While loan consolidation can sometimes dramatically lower a borrower’s monthly payments, Kevin Walker, co-founder of the college finance site Simple Tuition.com, says it can also cost you.“The downside of getting a lower monthly payment is that you’re going to subject yourself to substantially more interest charges over the life of the loan,” he says.Almost all types of federal loans can be consolidated.Borrowers should have loan account numbers, estimated payoff dates and contact information for each of their loans’ holders ready.
And once consolidated, they usually have variable interest rates, O’Connor says. Consolidating private student loans when interest rates are low (like now) “could potentially save thousands of dollars.” It also means your interest rate can fluctuate higher as the years tick by.